Thanks given to the people in blue on International Nurses Day

The work of the men and women who provide the people of Swindon and Wiltshire with round-the-clock care when they need it most will be celebrated this week as part of International Nurses Day.

Nurses at the Great Western Hospital will be visited on Friday 12 May by senior Trust figures, including Chief Executive Nerissa Vaughan and Chief Nurse Hilary Walker, keen to show their appreciation for the heroic lengths that the people in blue go to each and every day.

As well as sharing their own personal messages of thanks with the hundreds of nurses on duty, the executive team will also be taking gifts to all wards and departments at the Swindon hospital as a small token of gratitude.

Swindon Town Centre Swindon Town Centre

Taking place each year on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the commemorative event celebrates the contributions nurses make to society, the majority of which often go unnoticed.

A pivotal role
Claire Barker, Training and Development Manager, takes a leading role in organising the annual events to mark International Nurses Day at GWH.

She said: “Nurses play a pivotal role in so many key moments of our lives – when we’re first born, when we fall down as youngsters, when we have children and, in many cases, when we pass away.

“Not only are they a calming and reassuring presence at the most difficult of times, but they are now doing more than ever before, with today’s nurses carrying out many of the highly skilled techniques and procedures that would have once only been performed by a doctor.

“We have more than 1,000 nursing staff at GWH, with hundreds more actually providing care direct to patients in their own homes, and it’s important we take time to recognise the difference that each and every one of them makes.

“I’m really looking forward to getting out on the wards and saying thank you and I know it’s something others are really excited about too.”

Return to Practice
It’s hoped that International Nurses Day will also inspire former healthcare workers who have taken a break from their career to consider putting on their uniform once again.

People with experience of the allied health profession, which covers a range of hospital careers including physiotherapists, dietitians, radiologists and occupational therapists, can get the help needed to come back to work with the free Return to Practice programme.

Split between classroom and ward, participants get one-to-one support to rebuild their confidence, fine-tune their clinical skills and re-register with their professional body.

Those who complete the course are guaranteed a permanent job at either the Great Western Hospital or with one of the community teams working across Swindon.

People can find out more about Return to Practice by meeting the friendly course team for a coffee at the information session in the Academy at GWH on between 11.30am and 2pm on Monday 22 May.

Further details can be found at