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Future Nursing: International Nurses’ Day 2021 by Rachael Palmer

Future Nursing: International Nurses’ Day by Rachael Palmer

Rachael Palmer

My first HLA Blog, written pre-COVID-19, was a piece discussing the need for 2020: The Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Little did I know what that year would shape up to be. Whilst we are still very much experiencing the pandemic, 2020 saw healthcare change like never before and innovation supported and driven by a range of professionals. Change that normally would take years was facilitated in weeks. Registered nurses, those who are with patients and their families 24 hours a day, were at the fore.

Throughout the claps, the donations to staff, the rainbows in the windows, I would hope that more than good cheer was raised for nurses. I hope the public remember the images they saw on the news of ICU nurses in Level 3 PPE, in the height of summer, doing their best under immense pressure with so much heartache. I hope they remember the ward managers’ interviews, describing the reorganisation of the whole NHS systems in days. I hope they remember the ways in which nurses innovatively connected families and loved ones at a desperate time.

Nurses, the largest healthcare profession, play a huge role in shaping healthcare, improving access to care and planning care delivery. International Nurses’ Day 2021 aims to celebrate and showcase how nurses are shaping the future of healthcare.

COVID-19 has demonstrated the pressures and the failings in funding our healthcare system, but also how reorganisation can deliver what nurses have always been crying out for, a focus on training and money for professional development for example. It’s a wonder how some of these things have taken a pandemic to materialise but brought to my attention how everything about nursing is political, big P or little p. When it comes to pay, safe staffing, the big Ps – the money tree dies.

Future healthcare for me would see nurses’ professional status and clout elevated to the same position from which they influence and shape care. Only then can we say that we’ve celebrated the profession.

This will take work. For now, if you’re a nurse, why not submit a case study to the International Council of Nurses for IND 2021 on your service redesign, new ways of working or health innovation. Guidance can be found here:

Tell the world about the revolution in healthcare you are leading.



Rachael Palmer is a Registered Nurse working in Haematology, Florence Nightingale Foundation Leadership Scholar, and Council of Deans of Health #150Leaders Alumnus. Rachael leads The HLA Nurse and AHP Network having been a Healthcare Leadership Academy Scholar (2019-20). Rachael is also a Clinical Demonstrator with the University of Plymouth and leads on the Royal Devon & Exeter Newly Qualified Nurse Forum.



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