Nursing and midwifery students joined hundreds of their healthcare colleagues for a procession through city streets and a moving service to celebrate International Nurses’ Day (Friday, May 12).
The stream of nurses in different uniforms paraded from the city council offices, along Broadgate and by the Lady Godiva Statue, and at times were applauded and supported by passing shoppers.
The procession ended at Coventry Cathedral for an emotional service, featuring music and inspiring stories from speakers from all areas of nursing and midwifery.
Staff from Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust and South Warwickshire Foundation NHS Trust were among those sharing their experiences and passion for nursing with the audience.
Speakers from Coventry University included Head of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Rosie Kneafsey, Midwifery student Charlene Cole and carer Faye Tomlinson.
Coventry University nursing senior lecturer Jean Parker’s stunning performance of Ave Maria prompted a standing ovation.
Afterwards, nurses and midwives from the different organisations celebrated further by enjoying slices of a huge cake baked in their honour.
First year Adult Nursing student Charlotte Wright was among those who took part in the procession and attended the service.
“It’s really good to have an event like this because nurses and midwives don’t get enough respect for what they do.“I’m doing my first placement in a hospital at the moment. It was scary at first – but I love being able to follow a patient on their journey and when they are discharged, I know that I have helped that person."
Clinical skills lecturer Ray Graham, who was among University staff to attend, said:
“It’s a great day. It’s very important for nursing that we do what we can to celebrate the profession and the care and compassion nurses have looking after people. It’s important for the students to know they are respected, and it’s also a good chance for us to get together.”
Speaking during the service, second year Midwifery student Charlene said:
“Being a midwife takes a lot of courage, you have to be brave. It’s a huge privilege to be with a new family and to be in the room when a woman gives birth. It never gets boring or old.”
It was the second year the event, organised by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, has been held.
International Nurses' Day is celebrated around the world every May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.