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OPINION

'Nurses’ Day celebrates an incredible profession'

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I hope the upheavals and uncertainty in the NHS didn’t prevent you from celebrating Nurses’ Day last week - even if you only had time to give yourself a quick pat on the back.

It’s good to see that many trusts ran special events to mark the occasion and recognise the important work their nurses do. If only the day had wider recognition here in the UK

A quick internet search showed many organisations across the globe were celebrating Nurses’ Day. The vast majority of those in the UK were healthcare organisations and charities. What a shame the general media didn’t find it as newsworthy as other nurse-related stories they are so quick to put out.

As nursing is the largest and most visible profession in healthcare, it is perhaps inevitable that is often singled out by the media when things go wrong, while other professions seem to escape any blame. And I can’t think of any other profession for which the decision to introduce degree-only entry would provoke such howls of outrage from media commentators.

Nursing is an increasingly complex occupation that requires practitioners to develop a wide range of caring and technical skills. Why on earth would anyone actively call for nurses’ education to be downgraded rather than improved? Yet that is exactly what happened when the degree-only announcement was made.

Nurses are present at key events in their patients’ lives. You celebrate their joys and support them in their sorrows, and help them to get through the grind of illness and recovery. You also act as the linchpin in the multidisciplinary team and the bridge between healthcare providers and other agencies.

Unfortunately, most of the skilled and compassionate care delivered by nurses goes unremarked. People are generally quick to complain and criticise, but forget to praise and celebrate.

That’s why Nurses’ Day is so important - it is an opportunity to reflect on the enormous contribution made by an incredible profession, and a reminder that you should be proud to be a nurse.

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