Join the party for International Nurses Day 2019

Staff from around the UK are helping to celebrate the profession

Staff from around the UK are helping to celebrate the profession

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust celebrating at last year's event

Parties and events are being held across the UK to celebrate International Nurses Day.

In support of the annual event, which falls on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, 12 May, the RCN has produced a party pack containing banners, bunting, selfie boards and a cup-cake holder for nurses to use as part of their celebrations. So far, more than 4,000 packs have been issued.

To help nurses get into the spirit of things, the college has put together a Spotify playlist, as well as the chance to customise your Twitter and Facebook profile picture to champion the day.

The RCN’s general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘Every day nurses do extraordinary work for all of their patients, often going the extra mile to ensure patients receive the care they deserve.

‘This day is a chance for the thousands of nurses working across the UK to highlight the amazing work they do, take time to celebrate and talk to people about why nursing is so important, and hopefully inspire others to become nurses themselves.’

Across the UK, events to mark International Nurses Day include:

  • On 8 May, RCN Wales held the first of its four events at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, where the college spoke to staff about its work and highlighted the RCN’s Rest, Rehydrate, Refuel campaign. 

Senior RCN officer Alison Goodfield celebrates at Royal Gwent Hospital 

  • Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust will be celebrating today with a procession through Coventry city centre, finishing off with a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral.
  • The RCN Ayrshire and Arran team in Scotland will host a free cake stand at University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock on 12 May. There will be a free prize draw, with afternoon tea and a hamper as prizes.
  • Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust will mark the occasion on 17 May by holding a nursing career day.


The chief nursing officers (CNOs) of the four UK countries have all praised the work and dedication of nurses.  

Time to reflect

Scotland’s CNO Fiona McQueen said: ‘International Nurses Day is a wonderful opportunity to reflect all that is good in the profession. 

‘Across the country – whether in deprived urban areas, or remote and rural areas with the nurse being the single-handed health practitioner – nurses are reaching across all sections of our society, supporting people in their [time of] greatest need.

‘I would like to thank all nurses for all that they do every day of the year.’

Leading change

CNO for Wales Jean White said: ‘I would like to extend my well wishes to all the nurses and nursing support staff working so hard to look after patients wherever they happen to be on this International Nurses Day.

‘I’m regularly blown away by what nurses are able to do. We now see them leading services and stepping forward to bring about innovative change, which is hugely inspiring.’

Profound moments

England’s CNO Ruth May thanked nurses via video. ‘Every family across England has their own story to tell of when a nurse has made an impact on the most profound moments of their lives,’ she said.

‘That’s why I chose nursing to be my profession, because I wanted to add value in those moments.

‘Thank you for all you’re doing and happy International Nurses Day.’

Challenging work

Northern Ireland’s CNO Charlotte McArdle said: ‘I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all nurses for their dedication, commitment and professionalism while working under challenging circumstances every day.

‘The Department of Health is working hard to rebuild the nurse workforce and you will see the benefits soon.

‘This year sees the highest-ever number of nursing and midwifery places at 1,025 funded at our local universities, and the first cohort of additional places commissioned in 2016 will be registered with the NMC. There will be a continued increase year on year. The work that you do is highly valued.’

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