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Guy's and St Thomas' launches year-long Florence Nightingale celebrations


Posted on Friday 24 January 2020
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Dame Eileen Sills with staff at St Thomas' Hospital

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust kicked off its year of celebrations to mark the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth with special events for its staff and patients.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ held launch events across its hospitals and community sites to honour the pioneering nurse and celebrate its nurses and midwives.

This year marks the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale and the World Health Organization has declared it the 'International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife' in her honour.

Florence Nightingale set up her first nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in 1860, establishing Guy's and St Thomas' as the home of modern nursing.

Throughout 2020, Guy’s and St Thomas’ will be celebrating Florence Nightingale's legacy with activities and events to honour its nurses and midwives.

Speaking at the launch event at St Thomas’ Hospital, Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “It’s a great pleasure and honour to be the Chief Nurse of this fantastic organisation and to lead a workforce of more than 5,000 nurses and midwives. They do an incredible job and we are very proud of them and value all they do.

“The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife is about remembering Florence Nightingale’s wonderful legacy and celebrating our past and future. We are extremely proud of our strong connections to Florence Nightingale, and it is incredibly important to us that we build on her legacy of delivering outstanding compassionate care.”

As part of its celebrations the Trust also held a special Nightingale Lecture in partnership with King’s College London and the Nightingale Fellowship, a body that represents nurses who trained at the St Thomas’ Hospital School of Nursing.

The lecture was presented by the award winning author and former nurse Christie Watson. Her first book, Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away, won the Costa First Novel award in 2014.

Christie, who used to work as a resus nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, spoke about how art and storytelling can benefit nurses and patients. She said: “It was a real pleasure to be back at Guy’s and St Thomas’ to give the Nightingale Lecture during the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. I worked at Guy’s Hospital for many years so I feel like I’ve come home.

“Nurses and writers come from the same place. Both jobs are about empathy and stepping into someone else’s shoes and asking and responding to the big questions in life. Art and storytelling can really help nurses and clinicians to provide great care and can help patients who are suffering.”

To find out more about nursing careers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ visit our nursing careers page.

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