International Nurses Day is celebrated globally every 12th May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.

The Ministry for Health & Care is commemorating this important day by shining a light on the contribution that nurses are making to the health and wellbeing of the people of Gibraltar through the Gibraltar Health Authority. Nurses, the largest healthcare profession, play an integral part in planning the future of healthcare. The theme for International Nurses Day 2021 is Nurses: A Voice to Lead, A Vision for Future Healthcare.

The Minister for Health celebrated International Nurses Day by inviting nursing staff from across the GHA, including ERS to be part of a recognition ceremony. Minister for Health, Samantha Sacramento, presented nurses from all different grades with specifically produced badges to commemorate their role as they worked throughout and beyond the pandemic.

Nursing staff who have been working through the pandemic have crushed the clichéd stereotypes of nursing. Within Gibraltar and globally, nations have seen first-hand the fundamental role that nursing plays in patient safety. For nurses in the GHA, they celebrate nurses and nursing everyday as they lead services and advocate safe and effective care.

Principal of the School of Health Studies, Professor Ian Peate, notes: “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated to the world the important role that nurses play in keeping people healthy across the lifespan. While there has been substantial disruption to how health and care have been provided throughout the pandemic, there has also been much nurse-led innovation that has improved how people access health and care provision.The changes made and the innovations in nursing can ultimately shape the future of health and care provision. Nurses will require further education and training opportunities so they are able to meet the changes and challenges ahead.”

Director of Nursing and Director of the Gibraltar Ambulance Service, Sandra Gracia, leads nursing services in Gibraltar and provides leadership and professional advice to nursing staff within the GHA. Mrs Gracia commented: “The pandemic has very much shone a light on the commitment and courage of the nurses of Gibraltar. It also provides us with an opportunity to explore a range of new models of care where nurses are at the centre of health systems, these nurse-led services and have the patient at the heart of all that is done. With a range of new approaches to care provision this paves the way for transformation”. Mrs Gracia added: “If Florence Nightingale was working in our GHA today she would be able to clearly recognise the compassion and the care of our nurses. She would also be amazed by the enormous expansion in the roles that contemporary nurses have. I salute the nurses of the GHA and I thank them sincerely for their unstinting contribution that they make to health and care provision in Gibraltar and further afield.

Minister for Health, Samantha Sacramento, said: “I am so pleased to be celebrating International Nurses Day with nurses from Gibraltar and all around the world. I want to express my best wishes to nurses within the GHA and Care Agency, as well as all the retired nurses who have contributed so much to our society and recognise and thank them for their enormous efforts in providing high quality safe and effective care, especially during a very difficult pandemic. I am extremely proud of you all and thank you enormously. Our government remains committed to investing in the future development of nurses and nursing”.