Home What We Do Our Stories 5 ways you can celebrate international nurses day

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system. Highly skilled and trained, these medical professionals play a key role in the care of the sick, offering an essential service to our society. That’s why on May 12 every year, the world celebrates their contributions on International Nurses Day.

May 12 marks the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing – so it’s apt that nurses are honoured on this day.

At The Fred Hollows Foundation, we want to take this opportunity to thank our nursing heroes – their service is more valuable now than we ever could have imagined.

The Foundation has a long and close history with eye health nurses stretching back to the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program in the 1970s.

Gabi formed a particularly close relationship with Jilpia Jones, a Walmadjari woman and pioneering nurse, who she says awakened in her “a deeper understanding of our First Australians”.

Jilpia is a life member of The Fred Hollows Foundation and has said: “Fred Hollows taught me to believe in myself and to be equal among all people, even if you walked where others feared to tread.”

Here are five ways you can show your support and get involved in the International Nurses Day celebrations:

1. Share this message from Gabi Hollows on your socials

Share this video of Gabi Hollow thanking nurses with your family, friends and colleagues to spread the message far and wide that nurses are seen and that they are appreciated.

Feel free to share your own personal note of thanks and encouragement for nurses on every platform where you repost this video – Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

If you include hashtags like #nursesrule or #supportnurses as well as #internationalnursesday as part of your post then chances are that more nurses will see it.

2. Show your support for the ANMF Candlelight Vigil

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is holding a vigil to honour frontline healthcare workers who have lost their lives treating and caring for COVID-19 patients.

This will be a pre-recorded message of nurses from Australia and New Zealand paying their respects to their colleagues around the world. The video will be shared on social media at 7pm AEST on Tuesday May 12.

You can participate too by taking a photograph of yourself holding a candle, flowers or a handwritten note of condolence, and share it as a comment on their original post.

3. Buy a nurse a coffee

Buy them a coffee is a Go Fund Me movement that lets people buy nurses a coffee for all the incredible effort they’ve been putting in during the COVID-19 crisis.

You can donate to their page or choose an Australian city or town from this Link Tree list – you can even shout a coffee to a nurse in New Zealand.

Follow their Instagram account to see how much joy this small act of kindness brings to our hard-working nurses.

4. Help a nurse out

Do you know a nurse personally? Maybe there’s a nurse in your own family or in your circle of friends, or maybe you live next door to one. If you’re able to, consider helping them out.

You could surprise them with a home-cooked dinner one night or pack them a healthy lunch to take to work. You could offer to do their grocery shopping if they’re too busy to get essential supplies. And you could even babysit for them, water their plants or take their pets for walks.

Your kindness and consideration will make a huge difference to the emotional and physical well being of nurses who are working tirelessly to save lives as we speak.

5. Stay Home

One of the most important things you can do during the COVID-19 crisis is to stay home and practise social distancing where possible.

By staying home you will ensure the safety of nurses and other healthcare workers, and it will also slow the spread of the virus, putting less strain on medical staff who are already being pushed to their limits.

As well as these five things, you can also find lots of other fun and creative ways to celebrate nurses. Whether it’s ordering some goodies to be delivered to nurses at your local hospital or sending them a thank you card via the post, or by simply saying thanks the next time you’re face-to-face with a nurse – you would give them the recognition they deserve.

And if you want to help The Fred Hollows Foundation train more nurses you can donate here.


Learn more

See how our eye health nurses are contributing as part of the COVID-19 emergency response team around the world here.


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