International Nurses’ Day 2021

Today is International Nurses’ Day. Organised annually by the International Council of Nurses, and held on Florence Nightingale’s Birthday, the day recognises the pivotal role nurses play in patient care, and the huge contribution they make to societies around the world.

Celebrating the day, Joy Godden, director of nursing and governance, said: “Nurses are the backbone of the NHS, providing round the clock care in every setting. They are with patients through their darkest and best moments, working as individual professionals and in wider teams to deliver the expert care required for each person they are allocated to support. International Nurses’ Day is an opportunity to recognise, thank and shine a light on our excellent nursing teams and their hard work; in an unprecedented year, our nurses have consistently provided their utmost commitment, courage and compassions to patients and their colleagues, and at this time in particular they have my heartfelt thanks.”

To mark International Nurses Day, nurses from Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals were interviewed to shine a spotlight on the range of opportunities available to them, what they love about their job and what the day means to them.

In one interview, Paul Lidgate, senior nurse and matron in respiratory medicine, said: “I remember sitting with an asthma patient one night, she was very frightened; I sat with her, did some hand-holding therapy and helped her through her treatment. It was the first time I really got a sense of the difference nurses can make, and those unexpected acts of kindness that can have a big impact on our patients.”

Alison Pottle, nurse consultant in cardiology, agrees nurses can have a great impact on patients. She said: “There was a patient who had a transplant; she was in her 20s, about 25 years ago. I remember the day she had her surgery, and she’s lived all these years, seen her daughter grow up and she’s still doing really well. When she comes in for check-ups she often asks if I’m around. Those positives live with you forever.”

Watch the films to see conversations between:

  • Joy Godden, director of nursing and clinical governance and Carol Pryce, nurse recruitment manager.


  • Alison Pottle, nurse consultant in cardiology and Itayi Chinehasha, senior staff nurse/practice facilitator.


  • Paul Lidgate, senior nurse and matron, respiratory medicine and Miriam Kirton, AICU staff nurse.