Date Published: 12 May 2011

International Nurses' Day

Today, 12th May, is International Nurses' Day.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have devoted a webpage to Nurses' Day.
See also for more information about Nurses' Day.

Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, highlighted the work carried out by nurses - often above and beyond the call of duty, and called for their achievements to be recognised. International Nurses' Day was also marked by UK The Prime Minister, David Cameron, and other political figures including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband. The political leaders all recorded video messages pledging their support for nursing and thanking nurses for their work.

Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary said:

" Nurses' Day is an opportunity for all of us, whether we are patients, nurses or politicians, to reflect on the value of a profession whose worth is clearer than ever as we deal with an aging population who increasingly need care. Medical advances are helping people to live longer, but it is nursing which can help them to live well and make those extra years worth having. I am very pleased that in spite of all that is going on in the NHS at the moment, political leaders and MPs of all persuasions have made time to recognise the value of nursing."

However, Dr Peter Carter also cautioned that the (UK) National Health Service (generally known simply as the "NHS") is facing tough times, and an uncertain political and economic situation. He said:

" Nurses are holding the NHS together at the moment, and our worry is that if pressures mount, patients will be the ones to suffer. Nurses know that what they do is more than just a job ? and the task of caring for people at difficult times in their lives is uniquely challenging and rewarding. However, goodwill and commitment is not always enough, and many nurses are now contacting us for advice as they are facing redundancy, debt and repossession. In hard times, the important thing is to keep nurses in the profession, and able to give their best to patients."

A recent RCN survey indicated that 22% of the nurses questioned work in excess of their contracted hour every single shift, with a quarter providing last minute cover for absentee staff at least fortnightly. A recent analysis of calls received by the RCN's welfare unit is also cause for concern. During the first few months of 2011 as many as four members each week have been facing bankruptcy, and calls to the service have increased by 22% over the last 12 months.

Source: Royal College of Nursing (RCN), UK.
For more information see

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