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Right Arrow A day to celebrate our nurses by Sheila Lloyd - Liverpool Echo
11 May 2017 at 13:04

Tomorrow (Fri 12 May) we’re celebrating International Nurses Day which is, fittingly, also the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

It was Florence who laid the foundations for modern nursing, most famously during the Crimean War.

When she arrived in 1854 illness and infection rather than battle took the lives of most soldiers. Outraged, she demanded action and soon afterwards a prefabricated hospital arrived from London.

By the time she returned to Britain, the good hygiene practices she championed – ones we take for granted like washing our hands – had reduced the death rate among soldiers from 42% to 2%.

We’ve come a long way since Florence lit her way with a lamp among the servicemen of Crimea.

Nursing is now a global profession and we are the largest staff group in the NHS.

Today, Florence would be as amazed by the careers available to nurses as she would by the advances in medicine.

TV has made us familiar with nurses in emergency departments and medical wards. But there’s also mental health nursing, learning disabilities nursing, infection control nursing, prison nursing and occupational health nursing to name but a few.

One thing that hasn’t changed is nurses must be caring, compassionate and have a commitment to helping people.

I was 18 and working in an office when my dad went into hospital with appendicitis.

Visiting him, I noticed the nurses were caring not only for him and the other patients but their families and visitors too.

It was the privilege that struck me: to be an intimate part of people’s lives at the most difficult of times.

Nursing is a special career that not everyone can do. You have to ooze compassion. And I’m proud to be one.

So, today, let’s say thank you to nurses everywhere.

Tomorrow’s nurse could be you. Search “NHS nursing” online.

Sheila Lloyd
Chief Nurse, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

This is article appeared in the Liverpool Echo on Thursday 11th May 2017.