by Judy Hitchcock MACN


Another year, another twelfth of May, its ours to celebrate,

Dwell on the past, the present and future upon this special date,

It’s a pause for great reflection, to take decisive, clear direction,

On the matters that we choose to instigate.


There’s heightened urgency this year, change is now within our sight,

Called to be a voice to lead, that ‘Health is a human right,’

We’ve read all that we need to share, debated constraints that we must compare,

Now is the time to be that effective leading light.


Last year’s pithy slogan inspired us on Nurses Day,

To harness our potential, to speak out and lead the way,

Nurses can and need to be, change in the world we want to see,

Promoting all the important roles that we play,


There’s page on page of motivation, defining the nurses’ role,

And calling us to champion every sustainable development goal,

The lady with the lamp, would surely give her rubber stamp,

As they encapsulate the power of nursing, ‘on the whole’.


The year before had a different focus when ‘resilience’ was the cry,

We should manage our emotions, be objective; not ask why,

We should do much more with less, learn to cope and manage stress,

How reality makes us all heave a heavy sigh.


This year there is fighting talk, to stand up for what is right,

Caring is our nursing role to defend with all our might,

Geopolitically it’s alarming, how inequality is harming,

And social determinants of better health seem out of sight.


Much of this has been said before, a long, long time ago,

When the need for change was pioneered by our dear founder, FLO,

She remains our inspiration, with her relentless dedication,

Underpinning nursing as the profession that we know.













Florence led the need for change during the Crimean war,

She also championed the disenfranchised, those in poverty and poor,

She recognised the need for education, clean water and sanitation,

Her motivation’s our inspiration, for she led the way before.


In many ways there’s been massive change since her written word,

The SDGs re- echo them, ensuring that they’re heard,

She’d see overwhelming human need, afflictions dealt from power and greed,

To think we’ve made much humanitarian progress is absurd.


Nurses need to lead the way, change is within our sight,

Called to be a voice to lead, that ‘Health is a human right,’

It’s an on-going, poignant situation, nurse leaders driving innovation,

Illuminating health in a positive light.


Why should nurses be interested in health or know ‘the right to health as an approach to care’?

Is transformational delivery, conceptualised and considered fair?

We need to value our approachability and reconcile the affordability

And our experiential practise we must share.


Students are keen and enthusiastic, wanting to learn, eager to share,

The latest evidence-based practise, new and improved models of care,

How can we provide the right support, when we are always so time- short?

Gaining confidence and feeling safe is only fair.


We have new grads vying for placement, first choice competition is high,

Trying to secure a new grad programme, leaves many grads wondering why,

Their degree has not brought, the choices that they thought,

It should be a career on which they feel they can rely.


We have a frustrated, ageing workforce, tired of providing more with less,

How many sick calls there will be today, is anybody’s guess,

There remains the ongoing disparity, between the ideal and the reality,

There’s no denying the ongoing cost of workplace stress.


Whilst we address how to be effective in the delivery of better health,

Our own health needs to be valued and our knowledge prized as wealth,

Whilst we applaud what we deliver, as the ultimate care giver,

Caring for ourselves requires great fortitude and stealth.


Nursing’s not just the gentle art of caring, its ensuring health is a human right,

We need to be a relentless advocate and keep goals firmly in our sight,

It’s time to lead the way, to use our voice, to speak for those without a choice,

And use our inner collective strength for change with all our might.

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