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Cathedral event to mark International Nurses’ Day and Florence Nightingale

23 April 2012

The NHS and universities in Derbyshire are joining together to celebrate the life and achievements of Florence Nightingale by marking International Nurses’ Day on Saturday 12 May. They are holding a procession to Derby Cathedral followed by a commemorative service which is open to members of the public.

The service is immediately preceded by a procession from St Peter’s Church in Derby city centre, where the Nightingale stained glass window from the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary is now situated, to the Cathedral. Nurses in period dress will be leading the procession, supported by many colleagues in current day uniform.

The day – which is also Florence’s birthday – is being organised by the Cathedral and Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which operates the Royal Derby Hospital, London Road Community Hospital and community services. The service will be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire William Tucker.

The address will be given by Professor Lynn McDonald, author of The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, which will be fully published this year and contains all the letters, correspondence and writings of Florence. 

Nurses, students and other staff from organisations including Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Derby and the University of Nottingham, are also taking part.

The service is free and is open to the public and we should like to see as many people there as possible. It is first come, first served, so please arrive in plenty of time to guarantee entry. If you do attend please ensure you are seated by 10.45am to allow for the procession to enter the Cathedral.

John Rivers, chairman of Derby Hospitals, said: “This service is a celebration of Florence’s life, and an opportunity to reflect on how her legacy still influences nursing today. Florence is a very popular figure in Derbyshire – and of course she has local links – and we’re hoping for a large congregation to come and mark what will be the 182nd anniversary of her birth.

“The procession beforehand promises to be quite a sight, and gives people the opportunity to recognise the dedication and professionalism of the hard working nurses we have here in Derbyshire.”

The event will also highlight changes to nursing qualifications in England. From 2013 at the latest, anyone who new to nursing must be qualified to degree level (raising the level from the current minimum education level of diploma).

Brigid Stacey, chief nurse and director of patient experience at Derby Hospitals, said: “The Prime Minister in 2010 endorsed Graduate Entry Nurse Education as the way forward to secure high quality, compassionate care, strong leadership and parity with other professions across the countries.

“Degree level programmes are considered to facilitate learners to work better in many settings and roles, and enable them to draw on a wider repertoire of knowledge and skills, including the capacity to make complex assessments and clinical decisions and deliver therapeutic interventions in situations that are often unpredictable and emotionally charged.

“These changes will help ensure nursing as profession continues to embody the spirit and attitude of Florence Nightingale and continue to provide safe, effective care for our patients.” 

It has been agreed with the University of Nottingham and University of Derby to commence Graduate Entry Nurse Education in Derby in 2012.

The event will be complemented by an exhibition about the life and influence of Florence, in the Florence Nightingale Memorial Hall, Holloway, near Matlock. It is open from 2.30-5pm on Saturday 12 May and from 11am-5pm on Sunday 13 May. Refreshments will be provided by the Holloway Women’s Institute on both days.


For further information, please contact:

Paul Widdowfield
Communications Manager
Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
01332 786947

For further information on Florence Nightingale and links to Derbyshire, please see this excellent BBC article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/derby/content/articles/2008/03/27/florence_nightingale_history_feature.shtml