By Siân Wicks, Professional Nursing Advisor, The Huntercombe Group
International Nurses’ Day on May 12th offers not only a fabulous opportunity to celebrate the work of nurses around the world, but also to look at the opportunities in nursing going forward.
Nursing is a valued and trusted profession where individuals aim to provide safe, compassionate, high quality care at a time when there are significant challenges in the worldwide health and social care economy.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) are leading with two different themes: #nurseheroes (RCN) and #VoiceToLead (ICN). Both, of course, celebrate the vital work that nurses do, day in day out, but also seek to further advance nursing which is important for the sustainability of the profession.
The RCN campaign #nurseheroes asks people everywhere in the UK, whether nurses or patients, to recognise and acknowledge the outstanding care given by nurses at every stage of life. #nurseheroes asks people to talk about the care received by themselves or friends and family and share stories about nurses, midwives, healthcare support workers or students that have made a difference. Nurses are being asked to talk about a special colleague, or the person who inspired them to enter the profession.
The ICN’s chosen theme of A Voice to Lead, Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #voicetolead aims to raise awareness: firstly amongst the nursing profession of what the SDGs are and why they matter; and, secondly, amongst the population, governments and other decision-makers, of the contributions nurses are already making to achieve the SDGs. More specifically, it provides a host of case studies showing the amazing work that nurses around the world are doing to improve access to health care, to educate populations, to address poverty, nutrition, clean energy, inequality, sustainability, innovation, justice and every other goal in the SDGs. Nurses, as the primary providers of healthcare to all communities in all settings, are key to the achievement of the SDGs.
There is no doubt that there is broad recognition of the great work that nurses do, however at times there can be a lack of awareness of all that goes into ensuring nurses are equipped and able to achieve what they do. Both the ICN and RCN campaigns try to improve this awareness but there are also lots of things that happen behind the scenes in most healthcare settings. For example, at Huntercombe we celebrate the work of our teams through an on-going recognition scheme called Huntercombe Heroes, whereby individuals are nominated by staff or patients. We also run a Nurse Leadership programme in association with the RCN, as well as an Open University programme to ‘grow your own nurses’. Growing our own nurses and investing in our current nurses as future leaders is crucial. We recognise the need for a sustainable approach to supporting our nurses to provide care as well as giving them a voice to lead. More about our training and development opportunities can be found on our website https://huntercombe.com/work-with-us/training-development/
International Nurses Day is a real opportunity, not only to thank nurses, but to raise awareness of the greater value that nursing is able to bring to healthcare and populations worldwide. We should be proud of the work that they do and their unfailing care, compassion and leadership for those in times of need. Support the campaigns #nurseheroes, #voicetolead.