The gift of poetry for nurses and midwives graduating in Scotland

A book of poetry has been developed as a gift for all nurses and midwives graduating in Scotland over the next three years. At a time when nurses are under unprecedented pressure from the pandemic, this gesture aims to provide words of comfort and inspiration.

HiSS Nursing Studies To Mind your Life cover


The pocket-sized book of poems titled 'To Mind Your Life' is intended to offer support to nurses during their first year on the job and promote self-care and wellbeing.

The poems explore the meaning of nursing, midwifery and compassion and are divided into five sections that reflect the highlights, challenges and emotions of nursing. It includes poems on kindness, hope and exhaustion and features poets Emily Dickinson, Brian Bilston and Jackie Kay.

Dr Marti Balaam is one of the editors and spearheaded the creation of this anthology. Marti is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Nursing Studies and her work focuses on compassion, including ways to integrate it into the curriculum. She is an associate of the Global Compassion Initiative and Founding Director of The Compassion Salon, bringing together writers on wellbeing and compassion. In her introduction to the anthology, she writes, 

Engaging with the humanities, including Poetry, can promote Self Compassion which is vital in order for nurses and midwives to care for others and our communities. Mind Your Life gives permission for new nurses and midwives to pause, reflect and recharge and we hope that it will accompany them on their journeys in whichever form it takes

Dr Marti Balaam

The anthology is supported by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, Game of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke, and singer Susan Boyle.

Emilia Clarke suffered an aneurysm and founded the charity SameYou for brain injury recovery, she commented, “It is vital that we show nurses and midwives the love and appreciation they deserve, and I couldn’t think of a more beautiful offering than this collection of magic to remind them why they are integral to our collective lives, to every nurse and midwife in the world, we thank you.”

The anthology is co-published by the Scottish Poetry Library and Polygon as part of their ‘Pocket Poetry’ series along with 'Tools of the Trade: Poems for new Doctors' and 'To Learn the Future: Poems for Teachers', all gifted to graduates in their respective professions each year.

Related Links

Dr Marti Ballam's profile 

Global Compassion Initiative

Compassion Literary Salon


Scottish Poetry Library