Coronavirus: Nursing leaders ask public to 'shine a light' for nurses on Tuesday

10 May 2020, 10:11

Nurses will be honoured on Tuesday
Nurses will be honoured on Tuesday. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Nursing leaders are asking the public to “shine a light” form their windows on Tuesday to mark International Nurses Day, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

The gesture is a reference to the lamp carried by Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing and a pioneer in infection control, it will also recognise the role of nurses in the coronavirus fight, which has been described as the "greatest health emergency in NHS history".

Tuesday marks the 200th anniversary of her birth and has been designated by the World Health Organisation as International Nurses Day.

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Florence Nightingale, famous for her efforts to improve conditions for the wounded during the Crimean War.
Florence Nightingale, famous for her efforts to improve conditions for the wounded during the Crimean War. Picture: PA

In addition to the public support, an image of Florence Nightingale and a message of thanks will be projected on to her place of work, St Thomas’s Hospital, from Parliament.

England's Chief nursing officer Ruth May has joined in calls from other nursing leaders urging people to shine a light from their window at 8:30pm on Tuesday to mark the day and show their appreciation for nurses.

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She 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."

Thousands of former nurses have come out of retirement to help the health service deal with the coronavirus outbreak and thousands of students are also helping by working in extended clinical placements.

Professor Greta Westwood, CEO of the Florence Nightingale Foundation, said: "Florence Nightingale, herself a trailblazer during her career, would have been proud at the way nurses have followed in her footsteps as pioneers and leaders in the fight against the pandemic.

"They are truly her legacy today."