Look to the future on International Nurses’ Day 2021
As we celebrate nurses around the world and listen to their stories, the government is on a drive to recruit more… is a career in nursing right for you?
Nurses have been firmly in the spotlight over the past year, with the battle against Coronavirus transforming how we see them. No longer just friendly faces in a hospital, these tireless health care workers have become superheroes in our eyes, and they deserve to be celebrated wholeheartedly on International Nurses’ Day 2021.
Held on May 12th, the day is a celebration of the profession, allowing members of the public to share their gratitude and respect through local tributes as well as online messages. To join in the conversation online, simply add the hashtag #NursesDay or #IND2021 to your posts.
The International Council of Nurses plans to use the day to show others what it means to be a nurse and offer a glimpse into the future of nursing by showcasing recent innovations in the profession. In the UK, the Royal College of Nursing plans to get involved and will be sharing its members’ stories about what it’s been like to work in nursing during the pandemic.
The 12th of May was chosen for the annual International Nurses’ Day as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is arguably history’s most famous nurse. The Victorian icon won her celebrity status during the Crimean War in the 1850s, during which the socialite trained nurses to care for wounded soldiers at Constantinople. On her return to London, Nightingale set up a professional nursing school and is credited with founding modern nursing practices.
The profession has changed enormously since Nightingale wandered those battle camps with a lamp in hand, and it has also endured seismic change in the past year. The pressure has been on for nurses, and the nation has responded. We have showed our appreciation and support in numerous ways, from clapping on a Thursday evening in the early days of the pandemic to raising funds for charities such as Help NHS Heroes that work to assist NHS workers by providing access to nourishing food to sustain them on long shifts.
Though it has undoubtedly been a testing year for many nurses, nursing is a rewarding career. The government is currently on a recruitment drive to encourage more people into the profession with an aim of bringing in 50,000 more nurses to the NHS. Benefits include a starting salary of at least £24,000, and the government is supporting nursing students – both undergraduate and postgraduate – by providing annual payments of between £5,000 and £8,000 to help with the cost of studying. You can also do a nursing degree apprenticeship, which allows you to earn and learn on the job.
The drive seems to be working. In 2020, there was an increase of more than 13,000 nurses working in the NHS compared to the year before. The latest UCAS figures also show that there has been a 23% increase in the number of people accepting a place on a nursing course, which equates to an additional 5,000 student nurses.
If you are considering a career in nursing this International Nurses’ Day, check out the healthcareers.nhs.uk website, which is packed full of information on what it’s like to work in the profession and gives advice on routes into the NHS. It also has a fun Careers Quiz that will indicate if nursing is right for you.