International Nurses Day 2018
International Nurses Day at UCLH 2018
International Nurses’ Day shines a light on the issues facing nurses both locally and nationally as well as issues for nurses across the globe. In 1953, Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the Department of Health Education and Welfare in the USA approached President Eisenhower to proclaim a ‘Nurses’ Day’. He did not approve. However, in 1974 the 12th May was chosen to celebrate nursing internationally as it was the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, and the day has been celebrated ever since. Nurses’ day always has a theme which is followed throughout the world. Examples include in 1988 safe motherhood, in 1998 partnerships for community health, and in 2008 it was nurses leading primary health care.
In 2018 the UK theme was Nursing – A Voice to Lead. Dr Crystal Oldman and I joined a local event organised by the UCLH Trust. We heard Dr Natasha Phillips speak about how UCLH was set to launch an Electronic Health Record in April 2019. The Trust will be establishing with Cambridge University Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital. We will be hearing more about this exciting development at our Annual Study morning on Saturday April 27th when Dr Phillips will be one of our speakers.
Also, on that day I was honoured to present two Christine Harcourt-Smith awards on behalf of the UCH London Nurses’ Charity. Nurse Leader of the year was awarded to Harry Dohery Matron in the Intensive Care Unit. Eighteen months ago, the ICU team decided to extend their commitment to end of life care and to establish a memorial service for relatives who had lost loved ones. That idea came to fruition with around twenty families attending the service. It was the most sensitive, intimate and wonderful service where the names of all the patients who had sadly died in the last year were honoured. Relatives and staff read out ‘stories’ about the patients and were able to share memories in a positive and cathartic way. Harry Doherty led this wonderful idea with other colleagues and was nominated in recognition of his commitment to ongoing care and compassion in nursing practice.
Patient Nominated Nurse of the Year was awarded to Ana Mendonca Deputy Sister Gynaecology. Ana works as a Deputy Sister on the Gynaecology ward and there was an overwhelming number of comments and nominations for Ana from her patients and their families. Their commentaries reflected all that is unique and special about the relationships that nurses build with their patients and their families. Despite so many glowing comments, Ana remains one of the most unassuming and self- effacing senior ward nurses. So, it was good to recognise her wonderful contribution to the UCLH nursing community. Congratulations to them both and all good wishes for the continuance of their careers.