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Fri, 4 December 2020

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This evening, let's show our support for nurses around the world fighting coronavirus on the frontline

This evening, let's show our support for nurses around the world fighting coronavirus on the frontline

"It is truly inspiring to witness the morale and camaraderie of NHS staff during this challenging time," says Sarah Atherton MP | Credit PA Images

3 min read

This evening, follow in the footsteps of the Lady with the Lamp, and shine a light in a show of support for nurses around the world on International Nurses Day.

There has never been a more fitting time to show our gratitude to the thousands of nursing staff fighting coronavirus on the frontline, as we celebrate an International Nurses Day like no other.

Whilst nurses around the world work tirelessly in a powerful effort to beat this global pandemic, members of the public have been urged to ‘shine a light’ from their window at 8.30pm to show their support to NHS staff, and also mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

As we slowly but surely pass the coronavirus peak, it’s perfect timing for us to take a moment to thank those nurses and midwives who have been working around the clock not only treating Covid patients but ensuring that those with other medical needs are not forgotten.

It is true that everyone in society has had their part to play in the successful reduction of new coronavirus infections, but without a robust frontline response from the NHS we would have faced an impossible and daunting task.

That is why as we review lockdown restrictions, it is imperative that we stay alert in order to carry on protecting the NHS and its staff, by avoiding a second peak.

As a former district nurse, I am well acquainted with the daily pressures and responsibilities nurses bear, even under normal circumstances.

But as the virus began to take stronghold in the UK, I decided I was unable to stand-by and watch events unfold.

Like many other former healthcare practitioners, I wanted to offer my hand where I could, and signed up to the Covid temp register.

Nightingale was the pioneer of modern nursing and though her influence is still revered today, I’m sure even she would have been proud of the nursing community’s incredible response to Covid-19.

I have started my back to floor training at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, where I did my initial nursing training, long before I entered politics.

But now the added pressures that nursing staff are experiencing is almost unfathomable and certainly unprecedented, and yet it is truly inspiring to witness the morale and camaraderie of NHS staff during this challenging time as I am joined by a group of hardworking, resilient, and selfless former nurses and clinicians, and am immensely proud to be a part of the national effort.

Many workers have been deployed to hospitals far from their homes, others have been cut off from vulnerable loved ones and thousands of former and retired nurses have returned to the frontline – showing that for many looking after those in need is more than just a job, it is in their DNA.

Although today we say thanks to nurses across the country by recognising the incredible work that they continue to do, we must also remember and pay tribute to those who have tragically lost their lives fighting coronavirus on our behalf.

In order to ensure any loss of life is not in vain, we must continue to follow the government’s advice even as we slowly and gradually emerge from lockdown measures. 

The WHO named 2020 the Year of the Nurse in celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, however recent events makes this dedication feel even more poignant.

Nightingale was the pioneer of modern nursing and though her influence is still revered today, I’m sure even she would have been proud of the nursing community’s incredible response to Covid-19.

So this evening, follow in the footsteps of the Lady with the Lamp, and shine a light in a show of support for nurses around the world on International Nurses Day.

Read the most recent article written by Sarah Atherton MP - Women still face barriers in the UK Armed Forces - here is how to overcome them

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