HEALTH Minister Robin Swann has thanked Northern Ireland’s ‘courageous’ nurses and midwives for their ongoing contribution during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s International Nurses’ Day, the Health Minister recognised the critical role of the profession: “The Covid-19 pandemic is testing all of us, but nurses are on the front line. They are working tirelessly in our hospitals, primary care, care homes and right across all settings to keep our community safe.
“I know that there has been anxiety and worry across the profession as we face this public health crisis but I have also seen the courage and positivity of our nurses.
“They have been instrumental in our response to Covid-19. Their leadership, expertise and experience were key in the opening of our Nightingale Hospital, we have had over 700 nursing and midwifery students in their final six months of study join the workforce early and almost 1,000 nurses, nursing assistants and midwives have applied to return to the health service.
“While saying thank you can sometimes feel inadequate, the fact remains that we are truly thankful for everything that nurses and midwives do for us.”
Nurses celebrate International Nurses’ Day on the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale (12 May), a founding leader of the profession and 2020 has also been designated the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, marking 200 years since the birth of Nightingale.
The NI Executive is urging people to shine a light from their window at 8pm on Tuesday 12 May to mark the day and show their appreciation for all that nurses are doing to save and rebuild the lives of patients with coronavirus.
Thanking her profession Chief Nursing Officer Professor Charlotte McArdle said: “I have always been proud to be a nurse and this has become even more pronounced in the midst of this crisis.
“Our nurses have stepped forward to take on new roles or move into different settings, they have enabled changes to take place in our health service in a matter of days or weeks that would ordinarily have taken months or even years. They have risen to every challenge put in front of them.
“Nurses have been with patients every step of the way; whether that be nursing them to recovery or being at their side during their final moments and supporting loved ones to say goodbye. I know that families will always remember the nurses that helped them through the most difficult of times.
“This pandemic will take its toll on all of us but I urge nurses to do all that they can to look after themselves and each other.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all my colleagues in health and social care, and in the independent sector. Happy International Nurses’ Day 2020.”
To pay homage to the work carried out by nurses and midwives, the Department has coordinated the illumination of historic buildings and monuments across Northern Ireland on the evening of 12 May 2020. Buildings will be illuminated blue, the colour of the nurse.