May 12, 2015
The day is marked around the world on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth, and celebrates the enormous contribution made by nurses to the health and wellbeing of people everywhere.
Care UK has 150 qualified nurses at its NHS treatment centres in Bristol, Cirencester and Devizes, many of whom took part in International Nurses Day celebrations. Activities included displays depicting 50 years of nursing history, talks from a national nursing expert, celebration cakes for patients, and banners where patients and visitors could write comments on their experience and views of nurses and the nursing profession.
In addition, a special magazine was issued featuring a celebratory word from Care UK’s secondary care nursing director Emily Montgomery, a poem written by Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre hospital director Pamela Mackie, and many photos of nurses and the teams at Care UK’s treatment centres in Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.
Nurse Onyx Brewin, from Bristol, had her 50-year career in nursing celebrated in a display at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre. Semi-retired Onyx said: “I was touched when I heard about the display. I have been honoured to work with so many fantastic people, both patients and staff, and I’ve enjoyed working as part of excellent teams which allow nurses to deliver the very best patient care.
“Nursing has changed so much over the years. In the old days of nursing you were not allowed to use your first name, certainly not with patients. Uniform was prescriptive, right down to only having a choice of two styles of shoe and, as a student nurse, you had to live-in and you were not allowed to marry.
“Etiquette on wards and in the home was very different to today – you were not allowed to speak to a consultant unless you were spoken to. Mealtimes followed a strict hierarchy of seating arrangements and the training was a world away from how things are done nowadays. Patient care has changed a lot too; patients were not allowed to go home with stitches in and they recovered on the ward.”
As well as enjoying cupcakes with patients, the nurses at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre heard a lunchtime talk from Alison Robinson, the nurse director for South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, who recently retired after 40 years of nursing. Alison talked about Nurses, a force for change.
Mona Van Wyk, head of nursing and clinical services at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre, said: “Today, the role of the nurse has changed significantly, with nurses expected to process patient data, carry out research and keep abreast of technological advances. Not only that, but nurses have to study for a degree to be able to enter the profession. The nurse of the future has to explore the need for personal values and lifestyle change, and express concern about global welfare and the survival of future generations. It becomes critical for each of us to be an advocate for nursing, to speak up and speak out, to let people know who we are and what we do.”
Kevin Walsh, hospital director at Devizes NHS Treatment Centre, added: “We receive continuing feedback from patients about the high level of care and empathy they receive from our nurses and I’m particularly delighted that on this special day they’ll have a chance to share their thoughts with our team.
“Nurses represent the largest single component of the healthcare profession and are known to be patient advocates, acting fearlessly to protect the lives of those under their care. Therefore, I welcome everyone to celebrate their hard work and commitment to patients and colleagues.”
In Cringleford near Norwich the team at Care UK’s newest care home, Cavell Court, invited the local community to join them in raising a cuppa in honour of nurses at a coffee morning and pamper day, which took place at the home’s marketing suite ahead of the first residents moving into the state-of-the-cart care home later this summer.
At the event, beauty students from City College Norwich visited to offer a choice of relaxing treatments, giving residents and guests the opportunity to enjoy a manicure or massage in exchange for a donation to the Cavell Nurses’ Trust, which was set up to help nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who are in need of financial support and advice. Local nurses were also welcomed to unwind with a complimentary treatment.
Anita O’Neill, home manager at Cavell Court, said: “International Nurses Day presented us with the perfect opportunity to bring the local community together to honour the many nurses in the area. We wanted to say a big thank you to all the unsung heroes who dedicate their lives to caring for others and we felt a coffee morning and pamper day was a great way of doing this.
“At the same time, we were raising funds for the Cavell Nurses’ Trust which, just like Cavell Court care home, is named after Edith Cavell – a British nurse who saved the lives of soldiers from both sides during the First World War.”
Care UK runs 10 NHS treatment centres and 114 care homes. It is the leading independent provider of elective surgery free at point of use for NHS patients and its programme of investment in modern residential and nursing care homes has created 18 new facilities over the past two and a half years, with at least 15 more over the coming three years.
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