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Celebrating The Unsung Heroes On International Nurses’ Day

Every year on 12th May, we commemorate International Nurses’ Day, marking the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. This day serves as a reminder to appreciate, celebrate, and thank nurses worldwide for their indispensable contributions to healthcare.

Historically, nursing was seen more as a calling than a profession – a view that predominantly saw women entering the field under a guise that did not fully recognise their skills and dedication. Today, nursing is a critical, highly specialised, and safety-focused profession, yet it still battles against longstanding underestimation and inadequate resources.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic inquiry has starkly highlighted the double standards nurses face. Politicians and policymakers expect nurses to be the healthcare backbone, enduring challenging conditions without corresponding recognition or fair compensation. Their fight for both recognition and adequate reward continues relentlessly.

This year, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has aptly chosen “the economic power of care” as the theme, urging a shift in perspective to view nursing as an essential investment in national health rather than a cost to be minimised. This change must start from the highest levels of government and health departments and permeate through to senior management.

Isobel Lovett, Head of Asbestos & Mesothelioma works with victims of asbestos-related diseases means she is brought into frequent contact with nursing professionals, particularly those specialising in respiratory conditions and lung cancer.

Isobel comments: “I hear from my clients, just what a difference the nurses make while their symptoms are being investigated, when they are worried about what the outcome will be. They are usually present when clients and their families are given the diagnosis and help them understand what this means for them. They absorb reactions of shock and upset and support clients as they come to terms with often devastating and life-changing diseases. They provide ongoing support as clients attempt to navigate recommendations as to treatment, symptom management and the rollercoaster experience of the illness. Their specialist knowledge and skills mean that our clients are truly in the care of trusted experts. Their ongoing support and expert care are invaluable. It’s time we truly acknowledge and reward their contributions.”

Nurses do much more than provide medical care; they offer comfort, understanding, and invaluable support during the most vulnerable times. As we observe International Nurses’ Day, let us not only celebrate but also advocate for the recognition and valuation they truly deserve. Let’s remember that investing in nursing is investing in the health and well-being of our society.

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