Celebrating International Nurses Day 2020

On May 12th the University of Edinburgh nursing community gathered in a virtual event to pay tribute to the incredible work of nurses and midwives, and to reflect on nursing in the past, present and future. Visit this page to find out how we celebrated and watch the presentations.

2020 International Nurses Day event screenshot

This year, our International Nurses’ Day event focused on nurses’ roles in our global society in terms of leadership, education and qualification. Speakers at the event included, Professor Aisha Holloway, Professor Pam Smith, and PhD students Lissette Aviles Reinoso and Claudia Collado Quezada. 

Aisha emphasised that leadership in nursing needs to be strengthened in every aspect: from policymaking level, to the clinical level, and she believes that this should also encompass nursing scientists in academia. Nurses have to change the present narrative: We have to position ourselves so we are part of the policymaking dialogue and as such, part of decision-making. "You are the history-shapers and legacy-makers."

Pam articulated the history of nursing in the UK by narrating the development of nursing education and qualifications not just of a hospital nurse but also nurses of every description: district nurse, health visitor and registered fever nurse. Nurses have experienced ‘Leaps in the Dark’, and the University of Edinburgh made many leaps in order to change healthcare and nurse education which made us proud of being a part of a nursing community that endorses knowledge, expertise and inclusion. "Nursing isn't an island; what happens in nursing is a part of the global context, part of micro and macro. We need to look at the macro and see how it influences the micro every day, these may change nursing education. " 

Lissette and Claudia presented how nurses showed their bravery and made their commitment in a catastrophic context in Chile. They brought us to a real scene of a Chilean protest in 2019. Events in Chilean society and during the current pandemic around the world are integral parts of history. These experiences will make us learn, improve and leap again into the future. "Nursing scientists can contribute to documentation and give voice through presentations."

Nowadays, whether in education, leadership, or empowerment, the importance of nursing is clearer than ever before and has been demonstrated locally, nationally and globally. Therefore, in keeping with the take-home message that Aisha delivered, we need to think of “What is nursing’ legacy? What do we want it to be? What is our role in achieving that legacy?”

The Nightingale challenge is passing the baton to the next generation, and we hope the upcoming Edinburgh Nursing Global Initiative will receive a fruitful turnout from the early seeds which have been fertilised by the global Nursing Now campaign. 

Watch a recording of the virtual event below


On May 12th the University of Edinburgh nursing community gathered in a virtual event to pay tribute to the incredible work of nurses and midwives, and to reflect on nursing in the past, present and future.