Carinna: Florence Nightingale Student Day 2016

I had the privilege of being chosen by some of my lecturers and the Dean of the faculty for attending the Florence Nightingale Students Day. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about Florence Nightingale and to join in on the celebration of International Nurses Day (Thursday 12th May) and International day of the Midwife (5th May).

This was an incredible opportunity to meet fellow student Nurses and Midwives from all around the country, share our experiences and knowledge and discuss some of the issues that may impact the future of our professions.

The day was held at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and began with a Q&A session with the panel, which included:

  • Geoffrey Walker OBE JP, Matron for Medicine/Specialist Medicine/Emergency and Ambulatory Care
  • Professor Christi Deaton, Florence Nightingale Foundation Chair in Clinical Nursing Research at the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Doctor Linda Burke BA Hons, RGN, MA, PhD, Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Education and Health at University of Greenwich
  • Doctor Nancy Fontaine PhD, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Nurse of Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust

The focus of the session was ‘Shaping the future of education, practice, research and clinical leadership in nursing and midwifery’. The panel were inspirational in their achievements, and encouraging of all the students in their own capabilities for management and leadership of the future.

Following the discussion there was a tour of the chapel within the hospital and of the Florence Nightingale Museum. This was led by retired Nurses and it was fascinating to hear the stories of their practice and training and to learn about nursing within the hospital during the Second World War. The museum was very interesting, and reiterated why Florence Nightingale is such an inspiration to Nurses and Midwives worldwide. A star attraction of the museum was her famous lamp, which actually was not what we see as a visual representation nowadays, but in actual fact a Turkish workman’s lamp!


The highlight of the day was the closing ceremony: a commemoration service for Florence Nightingale at Westminster Abbey. The service was very moving and in the most beautiful of settings. Never in my life did I think I would be wandering around Westminster Abbey with some of the most influential Nurses and Midwives of the day! Hearing the choir singing, and the lamp being carried down the procession was incredibly humbling, and something I will never forget.



Coming away from the day, what has stayed with me is the fellow students I met. Passionate, caring, innovative, committed and inspiring, these students are the future of our beloved professions and hearing their contributions throughout the day filled me with a great deal of hope.

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