EVERYONE is being asked to ‘shine a light’ to mark International Nurses Day today (Tuesday, 12 May) and recognise the extraordinary work that nurses are doing in the fight against coronavirus.
The day also marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is famous for her lamp but also founded modern nursing and pioneered infection control. 2020 has been designated the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife to mark the bicentenary.
The Northern Ireland Executive is urging people to shine a light from their window at 8pm tonight to mark the day and show their appreciation for all that nurses are doing to save and rebuild the lives of patients with coronavirus.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “International Nurses Day is particularly important this year not only because it is the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, but because of the exceptional work of nurses in our response to coronavirus.
“I want to thank each and every one of our incredible nurses who are on the frontline in the battle against the greatest public health crisis of our time.
“I know how much the public’s support and the clapping that has been ringing out from doorsteps every Thursday has buoyed our health and social care workers. It would mean a great deal if people once again showed their gratitude by shining a light for nurses this Tuesday.”
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “How fitting it is that 2020 has been designated the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, because this is the year that we will remember the enormous contribution of our nurses and healthcare staff in the fight against coronavirus.
“Florence Nightingale’s dedication, skill and transformative care of patients is synonymous with the values and expertise so evident in the modern day nursing profession in Northern Ireland.
“This Tuesday, on International Nurses Day, let us recognise their incredible dedication; their professionalism; and their enormous personal sacrifice for the good of us all.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Our nurses are a shining light in the health service and it is difficult to put into words the depth of gratitude we feel for them at this time. While this emergency situation has brought their contribution to the fore, we must recognise the importance of their role in caring for us, and our families, throughout our lives.
“When we come out the other side of this crisis, one of the positives we can take from it is ensuring that our nurses and other health and social care staff get the recognition they deserve.
“Join us in shining a light in your window for our nurses on Tuesday at 8pm.”
To mark International Nurses Day and the contribution of nurses a number of landmarks, monuments and council buildings across Northern Ireland will be illuminated blue, the colour of the nurse, on the evening of Tuesday, 12 May.