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International Nurse’s Day 2018

By Beth Grice

Saturday 12th marked International Nurse’s Day 2018 in the UK. The day has been celebrated since 1965 by the International Council of Nurses and aims to celebrate and acknowledge the work of nurses across the world.

The day is also celebrated in countries such as Australia, China, Ireland, Singapore USA and Canada. In 1974, May 12th was chosen to celebrate the day as it is in anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

In aid of International Nurse’s Day 2018, we spoke to Anna Daniels who has been a nurse for over 20 years, including working as a ward staff nurse, specialist ADHD nurse. Advance Nurse Practitioner and now currently a reviewer for deaths in people who have a learning disability, alongside educating nurses in clinic skills. When asked why she thinks International Nurse’s Day is so important she said “People are often at their most vulnerable when they are sick, and for them to put their trust in me to help them is humbling. The nurse: patient relationship is everything. Without good nursing care and compassion the healing journey can be significantly compromised.

Having a day to celebrate the work we do is so important. Nurses do not enter the profession for financial reasons necessarily as it is not as lucrative as other career options. Nor do we enter for ease and convenience – night shifts, unsocial hours, weekends, late and early starts don’t appeal to everyone. So to be able to recognise the contribution we make is such a great way to make myself and my colleagues feel valued. We often are treated unfairly by patients – verbal and physical abuse unfortunately is increasing and many a time I personally have felt unsafe in the workplace. This special day strengthens to bond and comradeship of other nurses too.”

However despite the #internationalnursesday trending on Twitter over the weekend Anna said “Unfortunately this year, the day didn’t seem as well advertised or acknowledged in my workplace compared to previous years. Normally we would have posters up and emails sent from senior staff but it was not celebrated corporately this year, which is sad. I had a few Facebook notifications that were from other friends wishing me a happy nurse’s day. My colleagues in Manchester had attended Florence Nightingale Service in London – I’d have loved to have gone to that. What a privilege to be able to celebrate the profession with other nurses from around the world.”

Anna also went on to say “I really hope the profile is raised again in future years. The pay gap and poor terms of service for NHS staff infuriates me. I have been a nurse over 20 years, and if I had worked in other professions that long I would have much better terms of employment. While I did not enter into nursing for the money, I would like to see better acknowledgement, respect and recognition towards the profession.”