I was lucky enough to be chosen to represent Staffordshire University, alongside Natalie Brown who is an adult nurse, at the Florence Nightingale Foundation Day in London.
The morning session was held at St Thomas’ Hospital, which is one the biggest hospitals I have been in. We were mainly in the Governor’s Hall, where we met over 80 student nurses and midwives from across the UK.
There was a Q&A session with members of the Florence Nightingale Foundation and who were nurses and midwives themselves. Topics such as the future of the NHS, being a leader and healthcare education were discussed. It was a really good session, which left me feeling motivated, especially as I am coming up to the end of my training.
Following this, we had a lovely hot buffet. We then visited the Florence Nightingale Museum, where we learned about her life before and after the Crimean War. As someone who loves her history, I felt so lucky to be in this museum. We got to see some of her original letters and her the original lamp, which was not what I expected at all!
After this we visited the hospital chapel, which was beautiful and a nice place to recollect our thoughts about the day. I also found the Mary Seacole statue, who was another nurse who cared for the wounded during the Crimean war.
The best part of the day was the commemoration service at Westminster Abbey. I was in awe in being in a place that was so rich in history, it still hasn’t sunk in. It was a beautiful service celebrating Florence’s life. Princess Alexandra was also present and she walked past me! Thanks to this opportunity, I got to be in the same place as royalty. Seeing the Chelsea Pensioners, hearing the choir sing beautifully and seeing the lamp being carried down was an experience I will never forget.
I had a wonderful day celebrating Florence Nightingale. It is so easy to forget what a difference health care professionals make and this event helped me to remember. I left feeling motivated, feeling humbled and even more encouraged to follow my passion to be the best midwife I can be.