On International Nurses Day we hear from 2017 Diana Award recipient Claire Hanna. Claire is a passionate fundraiser, a keen supporter of youth voice and is currently working as a nurse in the NHS.
Claire became a passionate fundraiser for the Cancer Fund for Children following the tragic loss of a close friend to a brain tumour aged 13. The fundraising began with a group of friends making bracelets and school class having bun sales. This progressed to a sponsored sky dive for her 16th birthday, an abseil and arranging special events for her peers at school.
As a passionate supporter of charitable causes and as former Deputy Head Girl at her school, Claire has been an important role model to other young people around her. Since leaving school she undertook a Great Wall of China trek, completed a nursing degree and is now working as a nurse while studying for her master’s degree.
The International Council of Nurses announced the theme for International Nursing Day as “nursing the world to health”, showcasing the importance of nurses around the world. International Nurses Day is celebrated each year on 12th May, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. This year marks Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday and the World Health Organisation declared 2020 as the international year of the nurse and midwife.
International Nurses Day is of particular importance this year. Each year the day allows for nurses to reflect on their hard work and dedication and the opportunity for the roles and responsibilities of the profession to be highlighted.
2020 also marks unprecedented times for nurses around the world. Just as Florence Nightingale encountered uncertainty and challenging working conditions during the Crimean War, nurses today find themselves on a different kind of front line. Staff now find themselves working in unfamiliar roles and areas beyond their specialisation. Nurses are caring for patients with a condition new to the medical field, bringing fear and anxiety among healthcare professionals.
Despite these unknown conditions and difficult circumstances, the key attributes of a nurse remain the same. I have seen friends and colleagues step out of their comfort zones and into unknown territory with confidence and a great deal of courage. No words can describe the bravery of the healthcare staff we see in our hospitals and hear about on the news battling COVID-19, nor will we ever be able to thank them enough for the risk they are taking.
International Nurses Day however, enables us to celebrate in what they have done and what they will continue to do during this pandemic and beyond.
Nurses not only deal with providing emergency care in acute and immediate situations, but also educate patients and in turn their families on improving their quality of life. From patients who take their first breath in life to those who take their last, nurses provide care that is personal and compassionate, taking into account everything that makes an individual unique. International Nurses Day is one day a year for the work of nurses around the world to be recognised and celebrated.
I became a nurse for various reasons, from the loss of my friend to the care my Grandad received – every nurse has a reason or a story as to why they chose it as a profession. For me, as a nurse there is something very humbling in encouraging someone through their joy in recovery but also the humility in supporting a patient and their loved one through the most difficult of times and situations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new meaning to the phrase “nursing the world to health”. In these challenging times let International Nurses Day be the opportunity to celebrate, reflect and be thankful for the vital work of the nursing profession around the globe.
Thank-you nurses of 2020.