Celebrating International Nurses Day 2023

12 May 2023

It's International Nurses Day and a chance for us to celebrate our amazing nursing colleagues, in the NHS' 75th anniversary year.

To mark the occasion, we're recognising the vital contribution our nurses make across the trust and saying a huge thank you for their dedication to patients and the profession.

As part of the celebrations, colleagues came together at our first nursing, midwifery and healthcare support worker (HCSW) awards on Tuesday 9 May, hosted by group chief nurse Julie Hamilton in the RFH atrium. Click here to find out more.  

Senior nurses have also extended their gratitude to nursing staff below:

Julie Hamilton, group chief nurse

Gabrielle Leyshon, head of nursing, Chase Farm Hospital

Bev Thomas, director of nursing, Barnet Hospital

Rebecca Longmate, Royal Free Hospital

We also spoke to colleagues who’ve shared what being a nurse means to them.

Karen Manlapaz, orthopaedic advanced nurse practitioner, CFH, said: “Being a nurse means adapting to change but at its heart the core values of nursing remain the same. It’s about always putting patients at the centre of care.”

Regna Robley, senior sister, pre-assessment unit, RFH, said: “A nurse is trained to give care to people who are sick and works with other healthcare workers for the improvement of patients wellbeing. Over the years I have come to appreciate being a nurse is not just having the qualifications of nursing but being in a state of constant readiness and service. It is a call to duty to serve with pride and purpose.”

Catarina Abilheira, junior sister in larch ward, BH, said: “"Being a nurse is taking care without knowing names, religions or beliefs. It's caring with a full heart, clean tears and supporting with giving hands. It's about passion and joy. Mostly, it's to inspire and be inspired by others. It's what I believe to be as close to heaven on earth as possible."

Ursula Knight, advanced nurse practitioner, CFH, said: “I come to work to make a difference for my patients. Although the advent of new technologies has improved patient safety and efficiency in nursing, we serve our patients best when these are complemented by core nursing values such as compassion and understanding.”

The juniper ward team at BH said: “Being a nurse is a beacon of light in someone's darkness. Good nurses inspire themselves, great nurses inspire others. A nurse is someone who dedicates themselves to the care of others, a person who does big and small things with great love, someone who does what nobody else will do in a way that nobody else can, in spite of all they go through. They are nurturing, understanding, smart and extraordinary, someone who does more than required and cares more than they are supposed to. Nurses are like angels on Earth.”

Peter Hollely, advanced clinical practitioner and senior matron for emergency care, RFH, said: “Being a nurse makes me proud! We care for patients and their loved ones in the most stressful and sensitive moments in their life, and I feel privileged to be that person. The most important skills to have as a nurse are befriending people (patients and colleagues), communication and leading by example. This elicits trust which makes the individual feel at the centre of the engagement. Over the last few years, nurses have achieved so much — we have come out strong from the pandemic and have seen the profession grow with evolving roles in advanced practice. Happy nurses day to all nurses and healthcare support workers with a big thank you to all who allow us to grow!”

Rowena Fabella, clinical practice educator, CFH, said: “It’s rewarding being able to make a difference to our patients’ lives. Being a nurse is about compassion, listening to patients and understanding what their needs are.”

Ilona Kouame, trainee nursing associate (TNA), BH, said: “My journey began in 2009 on the rowan ward in Barnet General Hospital as a band 2 healthcare assistant. I remember my first day without any experience and being overwhelming. I was impressed by the skills and knowledge of my colleagues which inspired me to learn and gain that knowledge for myself. In 2017 I  joined the pre-operative assessment clinic as a band 2 and was very excited to be on a new team and enhance my skills. In two years, I had progressed to a band 3, and later in 2021 I started on the journey to become a registered nursing associate. Currently, I am a TNA and I find it to be a good challenge as I was the first TNA in my department. Thank you to all the people who supported me and believed in me. I am here because of it.”

Chelsa George, nurse in rainbow ward, BH, said: "When you are a nurse, you know that everyday you will touch a life or a life will touch yours. Every day you will see a ray of hope, which you gave in the eyes of your patients."

Geethu, staff nurse in 10 west, RFH, said: "For me nursing means helping people heal, meeting their needs while they are in my care, listening to their concerns, protecting them from harm and educating them how to care for themselves"