Let’s start by saying… HAPPY INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY! Every year, since May 12th 1974 (Florence Nightingale’s birthday), this day has been dedicated to celebrating nurses all over the world. I have celebrated this day year after year (after all, we’ve all got a nurse to thank in some way or another!). This year, I am able to celebrate as a fully qualified nurse- nearly a year in to my post-grad career. During this time I’ve met so many nurses and health care assistants who inspire me on a daily basis.

I work on a 16 bed acute mental health unit in Cumbria. Since working on this fabulous ward I’ve learned so much. From day one the nurses & HCAs took me under their wing & showed me the ropes. Some have worked there for 2 years, some have worked there for 20 (or more!). Some have always worked in the field of mental health, others have had other career paths before being drawn to this one. The mixture of staff has provided me with the best start to my (hopefully long) career & today is the perfect day to say thank you to every single person who has supported me so far.

Growing up I was always taught that I can do anything I want to, as long as I put my mind to it. As you get older, sometimes life gets in the way & the struggle to “get by” far outweighs the hope you once had. Some people forget their goals, allowing the day job they don’t enjoy or the daily stress of “adulting” to take centre-stage. I have been so lucky to be surrounded by colleagues who want nothing more but to see each other succeed. Nurses are only human (& sometimes, we have s#!t days too), but it’s much easier to find motivation when surrounded by positive people who have already achieved so much. Again, thank you to all of my amazing colleagues. Thank you for your kindness, your support & the hard work you put in every single day. Thank you for taking time away from your own families to help people in crisis & for smiling your way through the day no matter how hard it has been. Thank you for inspiring me to be the best nurse I can be & showing me (& others) that I can still be “anything I want to be”.

All of this & so far I’ve only talked about one ward! When you think of nursing what do you think? It still surprises me how many different roles there are within nursing & how varied the job can be. Who better to tell us about it than the amazing nurses themselves?

“Hi, I’m Laura, a staff nurse in the A+E department at a hospital in Cumbria. As an A+E nurse I care for everyone & anyone who comes through the door, from new born babies to those at the end of their journey. This means that I have to be adaptable & resilient as I see such a wide array of presentations. Within an hour on shift I may see a life changing accident, a mental health crisis & various minor injuries. This certainly keeps me on my toes as a newly qualified nurse with so much to learn (but I wouldn’t change my job for the world). I adore my job & the team I am part of. I will always be grateful that in my job I have the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart & body of all those in need. Ultimately, my favourite part of the job is seeing my patients recover & get home to their families safely. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.”

“My name is Lauren. I’m working for the NHS as a Health Care Assistant mainly in the community- caring for people of all ages from rehabilitation & support to independent living to palliative care. I do clinical tasks such as dressings, swabs, physical observations & samples. I also do bank work on an elderly ward in a small town hospital in Cumbria. This job ranges from building independence & ensuring it is safe for people to return home or helping to arrange a more permanent care setting. My goal for the future is to become a registered general nurse working with adults. I love making a difference to peoples lives and giving something back to the community.”

” Hello everyone! My name’s Sophie and I’m a mental health nurse currently working on an acute, mixed sex mental health ward in Greater Manchester. I qualified in August 2018 so I haven’t been working as a nurse for that long really, but I absolutely love my job and I’ve already learnt so much – as they say, the real learning starts once you’re qualified and accountable for your actions! Some days on an acute mental health ward can be absolutely chaotic and your attention can be pulled in a million different directions, but that’s what I love. I love being busy and never knowing what will be thrown at me next; every shift is so different so it’s always interesting! I love having a job that allows me to help people when they’re at their lowest/most vulnerable and seeing them get better over time, and knowing I’ve made some sort of impact, be it big or small, on that person’s progression and recovery. Being a mental health nurse is an absolute privilege.”

A huge thank you to those who got involved in this post & an even bigger thank you to every single nurse all over the world for all that you do! We couldn’t live without you!

Do you have a special ‘thank you’ you’d like to give on International Nurses Day? Comment below! I’d love to hear your stories.

Love, Kayleigh Rose x

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