A Message from the Chief Executive of NIPEC

International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

In the WHO International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, May 5th and 12th 2020 were to be the pinnacles of celebrations that should have lasted throughout the year, recognising the significant impact that both professions have on population health across the world. Last week we celebrated the International Day of the Midwife and this week, May 12th, sees the International Day of the Nurse 2020.

Whilst the current situation due to CoVID-19 was not envisaged when plans were being developed for celebrations, our focus now is rightly concentrated on the care delivered by all nurses and nursing assistants across every setting including those today who are directly or indirectly involved with the recovery and support of people who have CoVID-19.

For those on the frontline, wherever that may be, this means that you are working in challenging situations bringing expertise, knowledge and skills to manage the care of people in varying stages of recovery, or indeed in the palliative stages of life. I also want to recognise the significant leadership which has been demonstrated by our nursing and midwifery leaders across policy, education and practice here in Northern Ireland, as they have worked tirelessly to plan and deliver the response as the pandemic has unfolded.

As a region we should be proud of what has been achieved by nursing in recent years and particularly in the last seven weeks. I want to assure you that whilst we have had to pause much of the work NIPEC has been engaged in prior to the lockdown announcement, we continue to work across all sectors in Northern Ireland to provide support.

There has been no other time during my career, when the distinct contribution of nurses and midwives has been clearer and indeed this further highlights the reasons why it is so important to ensure our professions are supported to grow in numbers and flexibly expand the scope of practice. The education and ongoing professional development of the profession is crucial to this as a strong foundation on which to respond to new and evolving challenges now and in the future. I want to applaud the courage, compassion and care of nurses – recognising the emotional context of the work you continue to deliver and at the same time knowing that you often make decisions that can affect you and your loved ones.

I would encourage everyone in Northern Ireland to participate in the ‘Shine a Light’ campaign at 8pm Tuesday 12th May 2020, leaving a lighted candle in a window in your home, in honour of and celebrating the work of nurses across the world and thinking particularly of our colleagues who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in recent times. 

Thank you, and happy International Nurses Day 2020.