International Nurses Day: Why our nurses deserve to be celebrated

11 May 2018 - Helen Baxendale, Lead Nurse, Bupa Care Homes

As many of you will know, this Saturday is the International Day of Nurses – this is a great opportunity to take stock and take a moment to thank, the nurses around the world for the great work they do.

I’ve spent the past 31 years in nursing so I’m a big supporter of the day as it gives us the opportunity to reflect on the nurses who’ve made a difference in our lives. I just wish it came around more often!

A little thanks can go a long way. Speak with any nurse and they’ll tell you that the smile on a patient’s face can make even the longest of shifts worthwhile, while a thank you card from a family can leave them beaming with pride.

From a professional point of view, saying thanks is equally as important, and something I try hard to do on a daily basis.

Why our nurses deserve to be celebrated

Working in aged care, I see our team go above and beyond every day to deliver compassionate care to residents in our care homes.  I’ve seen staff go above and beyond for residents without batting an eyelid – from undertaking half marathons, through to organising an entire wedding in the care home. 

I’m a firm believer that nursing is a career that brings out the very best in people.  Not just in the patients and residents who benefit so from their hard work, but in the nurses themselves who can leave work every day knowing they’ve made a difference.

In a recent survey, undertaken by Bupa and the Royal College of Nurses, we asked our aged care nurses exactly what they loved about the job.  Top of the list was being able to make a difference to the lives of older people, while the potential to deal with complex health issues was closely behind.

Recruiting more nurses into care

At the same time, the industry is facing a significant shortage of nurses, which is why we need to work hard to attract more people to the profession.

As well as recognising nurses for the work they do, it’s vital that we highlight the progression and variety that the career brings. Even as someone in the role this has surprised me.

My advice

Aged care is all about hands on nursing, and you get to build up lasting and meaningful relationships with the residents you support.  Too many people think it’s just end of life care, but you can spend years with the same people and they become a second family to you.

My final thought is a simple but sincere, and that’s a thank you to our nurses. Not only those at Bupa but nurses everywhere who are doing such a fantastic job.

If you know a nurse, then make sure you use the International Day of Nurses as an excuse to say thank you. 

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