May 12th has been International Nurses Day for several decades but on Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday, these quotes feel more pertinent than ever.

Nurses and similar healthcare workers are some of the most important people in our society and in ordinary circumstances they often go unnoticed and unrewarded for their gruelling hard work.

Prior to the global pandemic we’re currently living through and the weekly clap for carers we have in the UK, nurses had just one day a year that was dedicated to them.

That day is, of course, International Nurses Day which arrives each year on May 12th, the birthday of the most revered nurse of them all, Florence Nightingale.

Now, as we find ourselves in one of the toughest situations we have faced in a generation, International Nurses Day is the perfect opportunity to look back at some of the wise words spoken by the founder of modern nursing.

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International Nurses Day 2020

International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world each year on May 12th.

The date on which this event occurs is one of significant meaning as May 12th is the birthday of the most revered nurse in history, Florence Nightingale.

The year 2020 also marks 200 years since the founder of modern nursing was born.

International Nurses Day has been an event on the calendar since 1965 thanks to the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and in 1974, May 12th was officially chosen as the annual date of the occasion.

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Pertinent Florence Nightingale quotes

As well as earning fame for her role as a nurse in the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale was also a hugely inspirational figure during her life.

She was responsible for writing numerous papers and studies that helped professionalise the role of nurses and set the early standards that we still see in practice today.

As a result, there are numerous quotes from Florence Nightingale that still resonate now and will do for years to come.

Some of these include:

  • “I attribute my success to this:—I never gave or took an excuse.”
  • “The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm.”
  • “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.”
  • “What cruel mistakes are sometimes made by benevolent men and women in matters of business about which they know nothing and think they know a great deal.”
  • “To be ‘in charge’ is certainly not only to carry out the proper measures yourself but to see that everyone else does so too.”
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Opinion: International Nurses Day couldn’t have come at a more crucial time

Prior to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, you would quite often hear tales of disorderly patients causing trouble for and hurling abuse at hospital staff members and nurses in particular.

Now, we’re reliant on healthcare workers and nurses more than ever and this writer would hope that the level of respect for those working in the NHS is through the roof and stays that way long after this pandemic comes to an end.

Of course, the Thursday evening clap for carers is a nice gesture but it doesn’t help nurses put food on the table.

The World Health Organisation said in their own International Nurses Day tribute that “now more than ever, it is essential that governments support and invest in their nurses. COVID19 reinforces the need for investment in nursing jobs, education, leadership.”

And who could argue? A substantial pay rise for NHS staff members, especially nurses, surely wouldn’t go amiss once all of this is over.

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