International Nurses Day is being celebrated today at UL Hospitals Group and across the HSE.
The annual event marks the birthday of Florence Nightingale and a programme of events is taking place to celebrate the work and achievements of the 1,854 (whole-time equivalent) nursing and midwifery staff employed across the six sites which make up UL Hospitals Group.
This year’s theme is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – A Vision for Future Healthcare and #IND2021 will focus on innovations within nursing and how this will impact the future delivery of healthcare.
Nurses are frontline clinicians in healthcare services and will play an integral role in shaping the future of healthcare. Registered nurses across all divisions use their professional knowledge and skills to promote health, prevent illness and provide nursing care across for people of all ages, sick or well and in all settings across the community and in hospitals.
In a video to mark #IND2021, Fidelma Hackett, Clinical Nurse Specialist in the MidWest Cancer Centre, UL Hospitals Group, describes how fulfilling her role is: “I really enjoy being a Clinical Nurse Specialist. I have direct patient contact every day. I advise, support and educate patients from the time of their diagnosis, throughout their treatment and at the end of treatment in the clinic visits.”
“I also work as part of the wider multidisciplinary team, planning treatment pathways for each patient and I act as the link between the patients, their families and the wider multidisciplinary team. I have had many wonderful opportunities for professional and personal development; have been supported in pursuing postgraduate studies in nursing and have had the opportunity to speak at national and international conferences as well as undertake research with our patients in cancer services in UHL,” said Ms Hackett.
Margaret Gleeson, Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery, UL Hospitals Group, said these healthcare professionals had been an inspiration to the entire country during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Words cannot describe how incredibly proud we are of all our nurses and midwifes working in our hospitals. The resilience they have all shown over the past 15 months has been inspiring. They have had the same worries as everybody else, along with the risks to themselves and their families. They have had to battle to provide childcare when society closed down but they still came to work when their patients needed them most,” Ms Gleeson said.
“Their commitment to providing safe and compassionate patient care continues to be recognised by the community at large and that was very evident from the huge levels of public support during the pandemic. The number of kind letters and tokens of appreciation we have received from patients and their families kept the spirits of our staff buoyant and gave them the strength to keep going during the darkest days.”
Ms Gleeson said the Group continued to recruit nurses on an ongoing basis and confirmed that all nursing students graduating from the UL School of Nursing this year would be offered full-time contracts with the UL Hospitals Group.
“There are many opportunities in this profession, Ms Gleeson said. “Staff can opt to remain at the bedside caring for our patients. Ongoing education and training is available throughout their career. The opportunities to progress in their career pathway are many, from clinical skills facilitator, clinical nurse specialist, advance nurse practitioner to branching into management. Funding opportunities are also available to progress and staff are supported with leave to study. We are recruiting all grades of nursing staff and available nursing roles can be seen on the HSE website here”
Nationallly, #IND2021 is being celebrated throughout the HSE and the critical role of nurses is being marked with video messages from the Office of Nursing and Midwifery Services Director (HSE), the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer (Department of Health) and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland.
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the vital role that nurses play in delivering the HSE values of Care, Compassion and Trust in the provision of safe, person-centred care. It is important to acknowledge the commitment and dedication demonstrated by nurses and all healthcare staff in the fight against this pandemic.
Dr Geraldine Shaw, HSE Office of Nursing and Midwifery Services Director acknowledges “the professionalism and ongoing contribution from nurses and student nurses to the delivery of healthcare in Ireland and specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“Our health system needs more nurses and there are many job opportunities to work with children, adolescents and adults in a variety of settings in hospitals and in the community, and in areas including mental health and intellectual disability services. As we battle the COVID-19 pandemic and face significant structural changes in healthcare in Ireland through Sláintecare, there are considerable opportunities for future careers in nursing within the healthcare services.
“One of the exciting aspects of nursing is the career pathways available for consideration in terms of clinical, management, education and research. It has never been more important to highlight what our magnificent profession has achieved, not only during the pandemic but also on a daily basis in making a difference in people’s lives.”