I was privileged this year to be given the opportunity to attend the Florence Nightingale Foundation Students day down in London. It was a day of celebration about nursing past, present and future.
In the historic Grosvenor Hall at St Thomas’s Hospital the day started with a very interesting discussion involving nursing students from all over the UK representing the different fields of nursing that are taught – Adult, Child, Mental Health, Midwifery and Learning Difficulties. Together we posed questions to a panel consisting of a Chief Nursing Officer, a Professor of Research, a Vice Chancellor and current Matron.
With topics focusing on practice, research, education and clinical leadership we debated what these topics meant to students both currently for students and those in upcoming intakes, and also looking forwards to our careers as qualified nurses and why there are a vital part of the nursing profession as a whole.
To remind us of why we were gathered we were shown round the chapel at St Thomas’s hospital and guided on to the Florence Nightingale museum where we learnt more about the remarkable lady herself. A short film also provided more insight into the great work she committed herself to and how it continued throughout her life. This instilled the reasons why she holds such a prominent place for health care as a whole.
Every year the Florence Nightingale Foundation holds a service at West Minster Abbey to commemorate the life of Florence Nightingale. The prestigious location befitting for the inspirational example her achievements provided. During the ceremony the Roll of Honour of British Commonwealth Nurses who have fallen in service during conflict whilst providing care for the sick and injured was walked down the aisle past the 2000 nurses and dignitaries present.
Then the lamp, in a form that has become depicted over time as that of a Turkish genie style lamp, is light and brought down to the alter followed by current nursing students. The lamp is passed between them to symbolically depict the sharing and passing on of knowledge; a key principle at the heart of the Florence Nightingale Foundation.
Leaving the abbey to the sound of the bells promotes reflection. The inspiration is
there from the events of the day to not be afraid to challenge and question the norm in order to strive for the best provision of care for patients. Florence Nightingale is believed to have said that if we don’t got forwards we will only go back.
WE ARE the experts! Don’t be afraid of what we can achieve!