Celebrating International Nurses Day 2022 – Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Investing in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health

Michelle Hepburn, Clinical Research Practitioner at MFT, provides a blood sample as part of the PHE ESCAPE-COVID research study at MFT

The anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday is celebrated each year on 12th May, with this year’s celebration marking a 202nd birthday celebration. As part of these annual celebrations, the health and care sector recognises the work of nurses on International Nurses Day, led by the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

This year’s theme is ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Investing in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health’.

As part of these celebrations, colleagues from Health Innovation Manchester’s Utilisation Management Unit and clinical team recognise the work of Florence Nightingale, and share their thoughts and experiences of working on the frontline of care during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this vital work being delivered by nurses across Greater Manchester’s local health and care system impacts on the health and wellbeing of its citizens.

Please click each tab below to reveal quotes from nursing colleagues at Health Innovation Manchester.

“To mark this year’s International Nurses Day celebrations, I wanted to highlight the great work that we at Health Innovation Manchester deliver with colleagues and partners from across Greater Manchester’s local health and care system on a daily basis.

“Placing patients at the heart of our work is a key driver in the delivery of care. Our improvement and innovation programmes focus on consistent patient representation in different communities, and this was the case before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As Chief Nurse at Health Innovation Manchester, I want to also mention that it is important that the nursing role in our work is understood by our organisation, and by the wider system. Making sure that the nursing voice is represented across our improvement and innovation programmes is as important as the patient voice if we are to improve the delivery of care for our citizens across the city-region.

“I believe that we are making positive steps to connect different nursing communities across the patient pathway, and improve the way in which nurses, patients and the system integrate with each other. This joined up approach will make for a more succinct care system offer for Greater Manchester, and the role of the nurse in this is as essential as it has ever been.”

“This year International Nurses Day focusses on the theme of ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health’.  As a registered nurse I am very proud to celebrate this day alongside my professional colleagues both here in the UK and across the globe.

“I have had the honour of practising as a registered nurse for the past 25 years, but as I reflect on the last 12 months never before has the need for leadership and investment in nursing been so important.  Many professional groups, both clinical and non-clinical, have been tested and challenged, not only by the impact of COVID-19 and the increased workload demand this brings but also, by the increasing financial constraints impacting the lives of those professionals and the organisations they work for.

“It is in these times of challenge that effective leadership is required, not only to manage the ‘here and now’ but also to plan and protect the future of the nursing profession, the NHS and our partner organisations.

“The work I deliver on behalf of Health Innovation Manchester requires me to support system leaders and their operational colleagues across Greater Manchester.  The Health and Care landscape has changed many times over the past few decades, and this requires professional bodies such as ‘Nursing’ to keep step with this evolving delivery of care.

“The recent guidance in relation to the development of a ‘Virtual Ward’ model of care will no doubt bring more challenge to GM locality systems I have the pleasure to work with.  I am proud to say that the work I deliver as a senior nurse within the organisation assists and supports these localities as they meet and manage this new challenge with the patient at the heart of these service developments.

“No doubt the next 12 months will bring more change and challenge both here in the UK and across the world, but IND on the 12th May 2022 is a great opportunity to celebrate all that we have achieved as nurses and all the potential we possess to affect change in the future to come.”

“As we move forward following the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remember the resilience and compassion my fellow colleagues demonstrated during such a difficult period and continue to do on a daily basis.

“Florence Nightingale said herself – “I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.” As nurses we need to look forward and build on the legacy of these extraordinary times. Florence Nightingale was a true pioneer and remains an inspirational role model on her 202nd birthday this year.

“As a Florence Nightingale Scholar, I think Florence would have been very proud of the commitment nurses have demonstrated to protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of the population in such unexpected times. As nurses’ we need to celebrate all the achievements over the last couple of years. We need to recognise that nurses make a difference to people’s lives every single day. You are, as Dr Maya Angelou famously said, the ‘rainbow in someone else’s cloud’.”

“Nurses have faced some of the most challenging circumstances in their career during the past year, so the theme of “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health” for International Nurses’ Day is more important than ever.

“Over the last 12 months my own practice has required me to develop my skills as a leader to work across boundaries and to lead with kindness and compassion as colleagues face unprecedented financial and operational challenges across the health and care system. I am offering support rather than challenge; being aware of the need for a compassionate approach and understanding the enormous task ahead for all of us working in the NHS.

“As a senior nurse at Health Innovation Manchester, I have been working with localities to develop new ways of delivering care, through the further development of virtual care and virtual ward services. Such a radical shift in care delivery requires significant support and understanding of the risks and possible mitigations for staff who are bringing the virtual ward into operation, whilst recognising that those staff are working under continued and increasing pressure which may limit their engagement or ability to implement change. I believe that there is a great opportunity to provide care for patients using innovative design and the use of available technology, but that clinical leadership will be needed more than ever to support the safe delivery of care for patients.

“I feel privileged to support NHS colleagues in Great Manchester during such difficult yet exciting times.”

“When reflecting on my career it feels strange to talk about leadership. When I qualified, I was adamant I had no interest in it, and that I would be a Band 5 frontline nurse forever. I saw ‘Nurse Leadership’ as being a ward manager or Matron and knew that wasn’t for me. I could never have imagined then the way my career path would pan out, or the breadth of opportunities there are to lead and influence care.

“From being an expert in practice, to applying nursing knowledge to review clinical pathways as I do currently, it’s surprisingly easy to find a role that plays to your strengths. To work in a team alongside and led by so many nurse leaders within the Utilisation Management team is inspiring.

“Health Innovation Manchester has a strategic role in influencing patient outcomes and pathways, and I feel the nursing voice is valued. By pursuing innovation in healthcare locally, we can influence excellence nationally and even internationally. I feel gratified to be a small part of that. During the last two years of the global pandemic, the nursing profession has rightly been recognised for the vital role they play in society and the delivery of health systems.

“However, I think there’s still a way to go when it comes to recognising nurses as leaders in shaping the future of healthcare. Nurses are the major provider of direct patient care and services within most health systems but our participation in policy development and the politics of health still lags behind our medical colleagues. Without nursing experience and expertise being heard there will always be something missing, and as a profession we need to continue to fight for our place at the centre of the conversation.”

“I am a nurse at Health Innovation Manchester and say that loud and proud. You may ask why this year’s International Nurses Day theme focusses on the importance of having nurses to help secure global health. This is my response – whilst in world-wide terms we are fortunate in having access to clean water and a plethora of vaccinations to fight preventable disease, we have yet to achieve equitable life expectancy and years spent in ‘good’ health, here in Greater Manchester and across the UK.

“We have known for a long time that ‘good’ health is determined as much by where we are born, grow, live, work and age, as it is by whether we exercise, smoke or indeed the quality of care we receive when we are injured or ill. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to revisit the wider determinants of health in an unimaginable and devastating way.

“My profession is kind and compassionate and deeply curious; as nurses we see, hear and address the ‘whole’ person devoid of judgement and prejudice. We are uniquely placed to help turn the tide on widening disparities in health outcomes and in preventing people dying needlessly before their time. We just need more of us.”

“Reflecting on International Nurses Day and the theme for this year, ‘A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health,’ started me thinking about how my role could possibly relate this. As I considered nurses having a ‘voice to lead’, I thought about how we as individuals, or a group, could influence others or even how much of a voice we have.

“I believe as nurses, we often stick within our specific area of expertise and comfort and don’t always consider the influence we can have on others and the potential for modelling health improvements locally and possibly globally. Florence Nightingale set us all an example and high bar as she led massive reforms, highlighting the unnecessary deaths linked to unsanitary conditions and saving many lives throughout her working life. Her work reached beyond her time as she modelled both leadership and compassion for us. ‘Very little can be done in the spirit of fear’ was one of her quotes.

“I think it is important for us, as nurses, not to be fearful of speaking and having a voice and leading with confidence to challenge poor practice and standards. As nurses, working in Health Innovation Manchester, we are privileged to be able to be involved developing innovative solutions to health care challenges including inequalities in care, clinical pathways, and standards of care. We will only be able to achieve this, if we work confidently and collaboratively, combining clinical and analytical skills to evidence requirements to support health and care systems, with the aim of improving patient pathways, experiences, and outcomes.

“It is my hope that we will do this with enthusiasm, integrity and transparency, being informed and well prepared. As nurses respecting rights should be uppermost in our minds and our values demonstrate the importance of human dignity, integrity, autonomy, altruism, and social justice. These qualities in the nursing profession should be foundational in health systems both at home and globally. How can we make a difference by having a ‘voice to lead’ when according to the IMF definition, ‘there are 152 developing countries with a current population of around 6.62bn? At 85.22%, this is a considerable proportion of the world’s population.’ I was shocked when I discovered the proportion of developing countries worldwide was so high. But we need to understand we all have a duty to develop leadership skills, not only within ourselves but also by encouraging it in others. This is key both at home and around the world if we are to manage change and improve services.

“Eight years ago, I had the opportunity to help in a medical camp in Eldoret in Kenya. Whilst there I recognised the shocking inequalities in care and the small steps being taken to support this developing country. The health care issues there were and continue to be complex and multifactorial, but the patient at the end of the system is no different. In this environment I was humbled as I saw the poverty, lack of respect for life and the pain that so many of the population had to endure.

“So, for me, this year’s International Nurses Day theme has caused me to consider these challenges. How can we impact health improvement, not just at home in our day-to-day jobs but also globally? Inequalities of care is a massive subject. Is it too much to hope that in the future we can aspire to improving services, be bold, courageous and develop colleagues and services both at home and globally.”

The Utilisation Management Unit at Health Innovation Manchester helps commissioners and providers to unlock the power of health data and insight to drive sustainable and cost-effective change that benefits patients, staff and the wider health and care system.

The team comprises experienced NHS clinicians and analysts that combine expertise in data analytics alongside extensive front-line clinical insight. As part of Health Innovation Manchester and the NHS family, this team prides itself on offering a high quality and affordable service for health and care commissioners and providers. The UM Unit provides organisations with the benefits of specialist clinical analytics expertise, improvement support and an independent viewpoint to accelerate improvements.

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