Tuesday 12th May marks International Nurses Day, and this year we have a lot to celebrate.

Since 1965, this day has been celebrated around the world on 12th May of each year (the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth), to mark the contribution nurses make to society.

The theme set by the ICN for this year’s International Nurses day is ‘Nursing the World to Health’, which couldn't be more appropriate given the challenges you're facing on a day-to-day basis during the coronavirus pandemic.

In honour of International Nurses Day, we’ve nominated six nurses as Florence Stars. These wonderful nurses have shared their stories with us, along with some words of wisdom from their years of experience.

Meet Duna

Duna - Florence nurse

How long have you been a nurse?

I qualified as a nurse in 2007. Prior to that I used to work in a care home as a healthcare assistant. One day I thought to myself maybe I could try and do nurse training - and that’s how I began my journey into nursing.

What is your favourite aspect of the role?

My favourite part of being a nurse is when patients are satisfied with the care that you have given them. It brings me joy knowing that through my nursing care I will have made a difference to a patient’s physical, emotional and mental health.

What words of advice would you give to your peers?

During my journey as a nurse, I have learnt that the best way to be a nurse is to look after a patient the same way as you would also want to be looked after - treat others how you wish to be treated. Small gestures that we might take for granted as meaningless, are meaningful to a patient when they are depending on you for their health and social needs. Compassion cannot be quantified.

Meet Ericah

Ericah - Florence nurse

How long have you been a nurse?

I have been a qualified nurse for the past 10 years and 7 months after graduating in BSc Mental health nursing in 2009.

What is your favourite aspect of the role?

My favourite part of being a nurse is that my role is quite diverse. Nursing is about solving problems whilst providing care for patients, and building a trust between the patient and caregiver. I love when patients are able to trust your judgment and feel safe in the decisions you make for their wellbeing.

What words of advice would you give to your peers?

The advice I would give to other nurses and health care workers is to be patient, show compassion, be yourself and be kind and professional at all times. Take your breaks so you can stay alert and focussed during your shifts. Respect others and ask if you are not sure of what to do - it is safer to check with colleagues to avoid potentially making mistakes.

Meet Priya

Priya - Florence nurse

How long have you been a nurse?

I qualified as a nurse in 1999 in India, and spent 9 years nursing there. I came to the UK in 2008 after completing an overseas nursing programme and I’ve now been practicing as a nurse for 12 years in the UK!

What is your favourite aspect of the role?

I enjoy everything about being a nurse - from performing my medical duties to providing personalised care. When I begin my shift I am fully concentrated and focussed on the tasks I need to complete, so I couldn’t pick one thing.

What words of advice would you give to your peers?

The advice I would give to my nursing peers is to always follow the right procedures, concentrate on what you’re doing in the moment to avoid distractions. Take time with your duties and don’t panic. If you’re unsure, ask for help - we’re in this together!

Meet Linia

Linia - Florence nurse

How long have you been a nurse?

I qualified as a nurse 34 years ago after having trained in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

What is your favourite aspect of the role?

My favourite part of being a nurse is knowing that I can positively impact someone's life. Watching patients relieved from their ailments makes all the hard work worth it. However, some patients do not recover, but being there for them in their journey to their final moments gives me the sense of purpose.

What words of advice would you give to your peers?

The most important advice I can give to other healthcare professionals is to remember why we do what we do. We are compassionate, caring, courageous, competent, committed and know how to communicate. During this difficult time let us not forget to take care of our mental health and our physical health. Do not forget that united we stand and divided we fall.

Meet Florence

Florence - Florence nurse

How long have you been a nurse?

I have been a nurse for 17 years and I have worked with Florence for about 3 years now.

What is your favourite aspect of the role?

Having worked as a nurse for 17 years I have experienced working in different settings, hospitals, community, specialist units and finally I decided to settle with working in care homes which I really am enjoying.

What words of advice would you give to your peers?

For all my fellow nurses out there l would like to let you know that you are doing a wonderful job and you’re saving the nation. I believe that as a nurse you will always face challenges but you need to believe in yourself and trust your judgement.

Meet Jean

Jean - Florence nurse

How long have you been a nurse?

I qualified as a registered mental health nurse in July 2016 from Leeds Beckett University. I have been in nursing since January 2004 and I’ve worked in various healthcare settings both in hospitals and in the community.

What is your favourite aspect of the role?

Being able to spend time talking and listening to patients and residents is so amazing. I mostly enjoy contributing as a nurse via any therapeutic interventions that can lead to the improvement of the wellbeing of the patients and residents under my care. Seeing someone recover after you have cared for them is so fulfilling.

What words of advice would you give to your peers?

My advice to my fellow nurses is to go out there, be your genuine self  and continue to do the right things. Always work in the spirit of a team with others around you to better the care of your patients.

From all of us at Florence, thank you to everyone featured here, and all nurses out there, for everything you're doing - today we celebrate you.