Nursing leaders are asking the public to ‘shine a light’ this evening to mark International Nurses Day and the extraordinary work their colleagues are doing in the fight against coronavirus.
Today (May 12th) also marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who founded modern nursing, pioneered infection control and is also remembered for her lamp. This year, 2020, has been made International Year of the Nurse to mark the bicentenary of Florence’s birth.
Ruth May, England’s top nurse, has joined other senior nursing leaders in urging people to shine a light from their window at 8-30pm this evening. Like Florence Nightingale’s lamp, it will be a symbol of hope in the darkness – a visible display to mark the day and show appreciation for all that nurses are doing at a time of national crisis.
Thousands of former nurses have returned to help the NHS with the greatest health emergency in its history, and thousands more students have done their bit in the battle against Covid-19 through choosing to take up extended clinical placements.
To mark International Nurses Day and Florence Nightingale’s bicentenary, an image of her and a message of thanks will be projected on to her place of work, St Thomas’s Hospital, from the Houses of Parliament. It will also be projected onto the British Embassy in Rome and the Italian Federation of Nurses between 9 – 11pm.
Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “International Day of the Nurse is particularly special this year not just because we mark the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, but because of the extraordinary work all those who have followed in her footsteps are doing in the fight against coronavirus.
“I want to thank each and every one of our incredible nurses who are on the frontline in the battle against the greatest health emergency in NHS history. Their professionalism and skills are helping to save and rebuild countless lives. It is a challenging but hugely rewarding career and I would urge anyone inspired by their example to sign up to join us and become a nurse.
“I know how much the public’s support has buoyed my colleagues during this testing time. It would mean a great deal if people once again showed their gratitude by shining a light for nurses this Tuesday.”
• If you want to shine a light in your window for the nurses, please don’t use a naked flame (or any other light that gets hot) near to any flammable materials, such as curtains, net curtains or blinds.