May 12th, International Nurses Day, is a celebration of gratitude to nurses around the globe for their endless hard work and care. First declared in January 1974, this National Day celebrates the birth anniversary of the modern nursing founder, Florence Nightingale.
There will be few of us that had some support or care from a nurse in our lifetime so it’s little wonder this day strikes such a chord with so many with countries across the world celebrating this important occasion. In the UK a special event takes place in Westminster Abbey whilst America honours their nurses by holding huge banquets, and city proclamations. Americans also like to hand out gifts and flowers to say thank you. India celebrates by running activities, educational seminars and distributing prizes and certificates to nurses to show their gratitude. Although they like to celebrate the day they also use it to make people aware of the issues the nursing profession faces.
With the triggering of Article 50 and a formal start to the Brexit process, International Nurses Day takes on a new meaning this year in our country. In the UK we have just over 300,000 nurses – the single largest group of health professionals. Statistics show that 13.5% of them are non-British with around 1/5 of those recruited are generally from Europe (although the Philippines is also a big exporter of nursing talent to the UK).
There is much debate about how the UK will fare if international talent becomes harder to secure because of new visa restrictions and immigration caps sparked by Brexit. Whilst nurses who have been here more than five years will be eligible to remain, there is as yet no guarantee on the status of those who have been here for less time or have their sights set on nursing in the UK in the future.
This year, more than any other, International Nurses Day needs to put public health under the spotlight and highlight the value nurses from across the EU and the globe contribute to our society, as well as celebrating the dedication of our home-grown nursing staff.
At de Poel we will be proudly celebrating the day because nurses are not only the heartbeat of healthcare but the heartbeat of de Poel. Every 12 weeks our clients enjoy over half a million hours of dedicated care and attention from temporary nurses who fill in for their absent colleagues or who cover last minute vital care requirements that would otherwise be cancelled.
From everyone at de Poel health+care, we want to thank the nursing profession for the time and dedication they give to their patients. We appreciate all that you do to make our hospitals, homes and GP centres the best they can be.