Boris Johnson pays tribute to ‘today’s Nightingales’ on International Nurses Day
‘We owe you more than words can say,’ prime minister says in tribute to profession
Prime minister Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the dedication and compassion of nurses in a message marking International Nurses Day.
Held every year on 12 May, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, International Nurses Day this year marks the bicentenary of the pioneering nurse’s birth.
‘A huge thank you, once again, to today’s Nightingales’
Mr Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care in April after testing positive for COVID-19, said in a video message: ‘Today let’s all take a moment to remember Florence Nightingale and all she achieved.
‘And let’s also say a huge thank you, once again, to today’s Nightingales – the amazing nurses who do so much and who care for so many.’
‘Fair pay and full support for nurses’
Other politicians paying tribute on International Nurses Day include Labour Party MP Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow secretary for health and social care. Mr Ashworth tweeted: ‘On International Nurses Day we salute all our nurses working so hard across all sectors of the NHS.
‘We remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice through this #COVID19 pandemic. And we dedicate ourselves to fighting for fair pay, safe staffing and full support for every nurse.’
- RELATED: COVID-19: Boris Johnson’s nurses say praise helps raise profession’s profile
The prime minister’s message to nurses
‘Two hundred years ago today, while holidaying at a villa in Tuscany, a young English couple welcomed the arrival of a beautiful baby girl. The birth would have been much like any other at the time. But this child’s life would prove to be anything but typical.
‘Because Florence Nightingale – author, data scientist and above all the pioneer of modern nursing – would go on to change the world forever. She revolutionised Victorian healthcare, establishing principles that stand to this day. She changed and shaped the very perception of what a nurse is, what a nurse should be, transforming the job into what she called “the finest of fine arts”.
‘And in so doing she saved lives not just in her own lifetime and her own country but for decades to come and in every corner of the globe. That’s why it’s no coincidence that today, her birthday, is also International Day of the Nurse.
Florence Nightingale’s legacy is the nurses she continues to inspire today
‘Around the world there are hospitals named in her honour – including the temporary facilities created to deal with the current pandemic. When American nurses reach the end of their training, they graduate by reciting The Nightingale Pledge.
‘Every year the president of India honours his country’s most exceptional nurse with the Florence Nightingale Award. She’s even had a Dutch passenger jet and a distant asteroid named after her. And how many of us can say that?
‘But Nightingale’s true legacy lies not in awards and buildings. It lies in the remarkable women and men she continues to inspire today. And while much has changed in medicine since Florence’s time, she could walk into one of our wonderful NHS hospitals today and I have no doubt that she would recognise, in an instant, the dedication, compassion, the incredible skill of the nurses on duty – the “ministering angels” of our time.
‘You continue to cast light on the darkest moments of our lives’
‘Individuals possessed of what Florence herself called “the true nurse calling” – an unquestioning willingness to put “the good of the sick first” and all else second.
‘So today let’s all take a moment to remember Florence Nightingale and all she achieved. And let’s also say a huge thank you, once again, to today’s Nightingales, the amazing nurses who do so much and who care for so many.
‘Just as your famous predecessor carried her famous lamp as she walked the wards at night, so you continue to cast light on the darkest moments of our lives. And for that we owe you more than words can say.’
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