It’s 12th May and that means two things for nurses. 1. It’s the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale and 2. It’s International Nurses’ Day. Not something that was a big thing for the most part of my career but I think for the past ten years or so it has been a growing phenomenon in the UK. Originally started informally by the International Council of Nurses in 1965, it was formalised in the USA in 1975. Now it is truly an international day as nurses all over the world take the opportunity to celebrate their profession and the contribution they make to society.
I began my nursing life as a student in 1973 (I’m up there in that header picture), qualifying in 1976 and I have been continuously on the register ever since. That’s 42 years as a Registered Nurse. There’s sure to be someone out there who has put more time in! Over those years I have seen, and done, many things I never thought I would, and met many people who in the course of a non-nursing life I wouldn’t. At this point, I guess I should wax lyrical about the rewards, the compassion, the wonderful opportunities to give to others; but I’m not going to. It’s not my style or my nature to sentimentalize. What I will say is this:
Those 42 years have made me strong. And fearless. They have exercised my intellect, my ethics and my patience. They have given me knowledge and wisdom and good judgement. I hope that all those people I met were able to take those same things from me, whether they were patients, students or colleagues. That would make me proud.
Have a good International Nurses’ Day.