In the last week we have celebrated two significant dates in the Nursing and Midwifery calendar.
International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses’ Day
Each year on May 5 we celebrate International Day of the Midwife; a day when the work of midwives across the world is highlighted.
Here at the Countess of Chester we have an award winning midwifery team who have led a number of developments over the last year; the most recent of these being the opening of a new dedicated high risk birthing suite. The room, equipped with mood lighting and waterbirth facilities has been designed for those women who are classed as high risk and as such require additional monitoring during labour. The room supports and encourages women to achieve a normal birth in a more welcoming and homely environment; whilst being safe in the knowledge they are being monitored and any medical interventions can be carried out if necessary. We are very proud of this new facility and the team’s use of social media to share positive patient stories throughout the year.
And then on May 12 every year, on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the international community celebrates Nurses’ Day.
Here in the UK, an annual service is held in Westminster Abbey in which a symbolic lamp is taken from the Nurses’ Chapel and handed from one nurse to another before being placed on the high altar – an action which signifies the passing on of knowledge from one to another and the respect nurses have for each other.
But why are these days important?
Nursing is the largest and most visible profession in healthcare; those who enter into the vocation commit to a lifetime of learning and dedicate themselves to caring for people when they are often at their most vulnerable.
This year, I will have been a nurse for thirty years and every day I still feel privileged to be part of such a great profession. Receiving letters from patients and families, grateful for the care they have received, still makes me feel proud. I know today’s NHS climate is very challenging, not least for those front line teams, but when I walk around the clinical areas I see first-hand how committed and passionate everyone is.
Here at the Countess of Chester, nursing staff (including midwives and nursing assistants) make up nearly one third of the staff we employ, and despite the daily challenges of the profession, they often, without fanfare, go the extra mile to ensure our patients receive safe, kind and effective care.
The first person you are likely to encounter on any hospital visit is a nurse; they are the person who will hold your hand as you give birth and comfort you in the aftermath of losing a loved one. You could say nurses are the unsung heroes of the NHS.
The aim of both of these days is to not only say thank you, but to also celebrate this dedication and commitment and take the opportunity to reflect upon the extraordinary contribution of individual nurses and nursing teams, not only here at the Countess of Chester, but everywhere.
To all nursing teams at the Countess of Chester and worldwide, we thank you!