May - a time to celebrate the work of nurses
Now that we have a student nurse in the family we have become aware of International Nurses Day which is celebrated on May 12th, the birth date of Florence Nightingale.
It seems that this is quite controversial as some would argue that she is no longer representative of modern nursing, and would prefer the day to be celebrated perhaps on May 21st instead, being the birth date of Elizabeth Fry who founded the Institution of Nursing Sisters.
However, the day seems to be established for May 12th – a day to celebrate the hard work and dedication of nurses throughout the world.
Each year there is a service at Westminster Abbey, London, to commemorate the life of Florence Nightingale and celebrate the nursing profession. A lamp is handed from one nurse to the next and finally to the Dean who places it on the High Altar. This signifies both the passing of knowledge from one nurse to another, and Florence Nightingale’s nickname of Lady of the Lamp.
Many hospitals, day care centres, hospices etc hold fund raising and awareness events around this time – coffee mornings, open days etc.