International Nurse Day

International Nurses' Day is celebrated on the 12th of May. It was created by the International Nurses Council and the chosen date refers to the birthday of Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of modern nursing.

Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820 in Florence. Daughter of English parents, she was raised in England where she had an improved education. Visits to the sick she made with her mother were crucial for her to decide to start working more regularly with sick villagers. This experience guided her towards nursing despite her family's opposition. He enrolled in the nursing course of Catholic religious orders in Kaiserwerth, Germany, having completed the course in three months.

With the several trips he made in Europe, he observed the various aspects of Nursing and published comparative studies between different countries, his main wish being the foundation of a nursing school with new bases.

With the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1853, he was invited to go to Scurati, as superintendent of a group of volunteer nurses, to help the English wounded in battle. Florence considered this invitation a unique opportunity to make the value of “professional nursing” known to the world. When he arrived he was faced with difficult conditions for the exercise of his functions, such as the lack of beds, poor sanitary conditions or the incorrect treatment of patients. With hard work and a lot of dedication, Florence managed to transform several field hospitals into refuges for soldiers, with dignified conditions for the sick. 

It created five diet kitchens, a laundry room, coffee rooms, and reading rooms, providing them with moments of leisure. The nurses carried out night rounds with a lamp to observe the condition of the soldiers. The innovative treatment of patients made Florence a “guardian angel for soldiers”, immortalizing her as the “Lady of the Lamp”. The changes introduced by Florence led to a decrease in the mortality rate, decreasing from 42.2% to 2.2%. When the conditions of this hospital became more satisfactory, Florence went to Crimea to organize two other military hospitals.
She returned to London in July 1856, four months after the Declaration of Peace. The reputation obtained for her heroic acts deserved the attention of Queen Victoria of England, who awarded her the Royal Red Cross in 1883 and in 1907 became the first woman receiving the Order of Merit.
But it was on July 9, 1860 that Florence Nightingale realized her golden dream: founding a School of Nursing. According to its philosophy, this new school was based on innovative principles that have transformed the world of nursing until today. The school management came to be under the responsibility of a nurse, teaching became more methodical through practice and the selection of candidates started to be based on criteria such as the physical, moral, intellectual and professional aptitude. Nightingale was responsible for the introduction of theoretical and schematic teaching in Nursing. Florence's school system spread rapidly. In such a way that at the end of the First World War more than a thousand schools operated with many technical training books and an abundance of professional publications.

Florence Nightingale made an important contribution to redirecting Nursing based on the epidemiological knowledge of the time. When he conceived the action of Nursing, he favored the reparative process of the disease through the use of pure air, light and heat, cleaning, hygiene, rest and diet as an essential minimum of the patient's vital energies. The commemoration of this day is a tribute to all nurses, reminding and highlighting the importance they have in providing general and specialized care to the population.

To mark this date, several symposia and conferences are held at national and international level. At the national level, there are celebrations in the Regional Sections of the Order of Nurses that include several conferences, whose programs can be consulted on the websites of the different Regional Sections. They aim to analyze several aspects: the identification of new perspectives on nursing, the profession and the challenges that nurses face in the daily performance of their functions; namely, caring with dignity, with or without adequate conditions, work overload due to lack of human resources, the lack of appreciation of the profession, among others.

This analysis is important both for the awareness of the current situation of the profession, as well as for the recognition of the need for a joint struggle on the part of all nurses, for a greater professional valorization. For this fight to have positive results, a frank and strong union of nurses as a class is essential, always remembering that no one is alone, as they have the unconditional support of the Order of Nurses.

Every year a theme is chosen for this celebration, this year referring to “Nurses: a voice to lead - to achieve the goals of sustainable development”. This maxim refers to a form of development capable of responding to the needs of the present, without compromising the capacity of future generations. It proposes to improve the living conditions of individuals, while preserving the environment in the short, medium and, above all, in the long term. This type of development has a threefold objective, namely, economically effective, socially equitable and ecologically sustainable development. It is a type of development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The Bureau of the Specialty College of Child and Pediatric Health Nursing marks this day by praising all nurses in general and in particular all specialists in child and pediatric health, who strive and work hard every day to provide quality nursing care. children / families in order to respond effectively to their health needs.