International Nurses Day

Nurses Day was created by the International Nurses Council! And why 12 May?

This date was not chosen lightly. It was chosen because it was the day Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of modern nursing, was born. It does not make sense to talk about this day without referring to the history of those who gave so much to modern nursing in such distant times.

Born in 1820 into a wealthy English family, her name comes from the place where she was born, Florence. She was very well educated in England. Her inclination for nursing was manifested at an early age and at the expense of the numerous visits to patients that she made with her mother. Although the family was against her, she never gave up on her goals. She ended up taking the nursing course in a religious order in Germany, completing it in about 3 months. From then on, she never stopped. She made countless trips, making comparative nursing studies of places where she went with the aim of starting her own school.

In 1853, during the Crimean War, she was invited to be a nurse supervisor of the volunteer nurses who were there to help the wounded.

The lack of conditions, ventilation of the rooms as well as inadequate treatment were a barrier to the successful recovery of patients. Concern with the safe/hygienic environment became very important to her.

All of this was a milestone in modern nursing, where Florence was able to demonstrate how issues of safe environment/hygiene/proper treatment can make a difference in care. With the implemented changes, there was a 40% drop in mortality.

Florence demonstrated to the world the value of nursing as a profession. There is also the famous story of the lamp associated with nursing. During the night, the nurses watched over the injured patients with a lamp "hanging from their hair". Accordingly, she became known as the "Lady of the lamp".

In 1860, Florence founded her nursing school in England at Saint Thomas Hospital. The whole philosophy of the school was based on innovative principles that have changed the history of nursing until today.

Florence is considered the “mother” of nursing, an intelligent woman with innovative ideas and concerns based on “scientific evidence”, demonstrated through comparative studies and numerous publications.

Issues related to a safe environment that involved clean air, hygiene, food, sleep and rest as well as an adequate diet were considered fundamental principles for the recovery and well-being of patients.

Since those years there has been a big boost in nursing and today it is quite obvious the need to face the user as a whole and not as the sum of the “parts”. Also, proximity to the patients/families/community is decisive in nursing interventions as well as in their success. The impact that this can have on the population's morbidity and mortality has been demonstrated in several studies.

It is undoubtedly the nurse who takes care at all stages of the human being's life, both in the prevention of disease and health promotion. This general and specialized care is also present in management/ancillary actions and even in graduate and postgraduate training.

We still have a long way to go to enhance the profession, so that the population definitely realizes that nurses are health agents. They are the closest to the patients and nobody in the health field knows patients so well.

With the difficult times we have been through, during the pandemic we have received many thanks and applause, but this is easily forgotten. No, we are not heroes, we are professionals who care about the well-being of others, we exercise our profession with pride and dignity.

It is necessary that our politicians face the situation of the profession, which has been going on for decades. This included the shortage of nurses, mobility between institutions, and emigration in order to have more stability. We need a dignified career and fair wages.

After all, Nurses are People who take care of People and for that reason we all have to take better care of the profession.

mulher vestida de enfermeira

Dulce Freitas - Nurse in a management position