Events, Health, Latest News | Posted: Tuesday, May 12th, 2020 at 4:20 pm | return to news

‘Shine A Light’ for our nurses

We are all being asked to ‘shine a light’ to mark International Nurses Day on 12 May, and recognise the extraordinary work that nurses are doing in the fight against coronavirus.


The day also marks on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who founded modern nursing and pioneered infection control, but is also famous for her lamp.

2020 has been made International Year of the Nurse to mark the bicentenary of Florence’s birth.

England’s top nurse, Ruth May, has joined other senior nursing leaders in urging people to shine a light from their window at 8.30pm this evening to mark the day and show their appreciation for all that nurses are doing to save and rebuild the lives of patients with coronavirus.

Thousands of former nurses have returned to help the NHS with the greatest health emergency in its history, and thousands more students have done their bit in the battle against Covid-19 through choosing to take up extended clinical placements.

To mark International Nurses Day and Florence Nightingale’s bicentenary, an image of her and a message of thanks will be projected on to her place of work, St Thomas’s Hospital, from the Houses of Parliament.

It will also be projected onto the British Embassy in Rome and the Italian Federation of Nurses between 9–11pm.

“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,” said Ruth May. “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.”


Adam Window Centres


Adam Window Centres

Helen Whately, Minister for Care also encourages everyone to shine a light. She said, “This year International Nurses Day falls in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, with our nurses at the very forefront of the response every day and night. I have been humbled to see them face the biggest challenge of a generation, continuing to show compassion, professionalism and dedication during incredibly demanding times.”

And Professor Greta Westwood, CEO of Florence Nightingale Foundation said, “Nurses have been on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing expert care and support to patients and their families during these uncertain times.
“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.”

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said, “I am so grateful and proud of our nurses, nursing associates and their colleagues. I hope this special day encourages even more nurses to join or return to what is a wonderful and rewarding career.”

Nursing has changed dramatically since Florence Nightingale founded the first nursing school in London – nurses are not only on hospital wards, they are out in the community, care homes, academia, running hospitals and developing policy.

The modern nursing challenge is to deliver consistent and improving high quality care and they are essential to meet the challenge of improving care, reducing inequalities and using health and care resources wisely.

Marie Curie Chief Nurse and Executive Director of Quality and Caring Services, Julie Pearce, said, “Caring for someone during their final weeks and days of life is both a privilege and a challenge. Right now our frontline nurses and other professionals are committed to supporting the NHS through this national crisis, caring for patients with coronavirus and other illnesses in our hospices, in homes and care homes across our four nations.”

Nurses have never been more needed. To find out more visit

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