NHS bosses across Surrey Heartlands are today saying a huge thank you to their dedicated nursing staff on International Nurses Day as they support thousands of local residents amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The theme for this year’s Day is ‘nursing the world to health’ and never has this been more apt. With over 320,000* nurses, health visitors and midwives employed across the NHS, they provide vital care and support for the most vulnerable people in the community and in our hospitals.

Trudy Mills, Director for Women and Children’s Services at Surrey Heartlands, said: “Our children’s nursing teams have been doing some excellent work during COVID-19 and along with our maternity services they have adapted how they deliver care to ensure families are still receiving the care and support they need.

“We have seen some really innovative ways of working across our communities. Our nurse led Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Team have been in contact with traveller families across Surrey who are particularly vulnerable at this time and talked them through the public health guidance. On two occasions they have arranged testing for outbreaks with Public Health England at Gypsy, Roma and Traveller sites as well as working to get emergency supplies to shield families where needed. The trusted link that the Team has developed with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community is helping to ensure they receive the care and support they need throughout this difficult time.

“Within our Maternity Services our midwives at the Royal Surrey County Hospital have moved to live-streaming antenatal workshops using closed Facebook groups, which has proved a popular alternative for mums and dads-to-be, and creating online animations so everyone knows what to expect when they come into hospital during the outbreak. Their drive through maternity cabin has also been well received by pregnant women who need physical check-ups. The cabin has been designed to keep them outside of the hospital if they have no signs of COVID-19 symptoms helping provide piece of mind to expectant parents at what is already an anxious time for them.

“Our mental health services for children and young people have moved to telephone and video appointments for the majority of their contacts while our Children and Young People’s Havens, safe spaces for young people to talk about their worries, are providing a virtual service so they can still do their vital work to support young people when they need help. The commitment and dedication of all our nurses has been simply amazing over the past eight weeks and I am so proud of everything they have achieved.”  

12 May, as International Nurses Day, coincides with the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale and 2020 marks her bicentenary year. Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing after she established a nursing school in London during 1860 which laid the foundations for professional nursing as we know it today.