We can never forget their heroic efforts: President Higgins leads tributes on International Nurses Day

We can never forget their heroic efforts: President Higgins leads tributes on International Nurses Day

Nurses are being celebrated today for their bravery, skills and dedication.

International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

This year, the annual celebration takes on more meaning than ever before.

Our frontline workers have been celebrated with regular clapping events to thank them for their work during the crisis recently.

Today President Michael D Higgins says it is a privilege to recognise the contribution that the 67,000 nurses and midwives in Ireland have made to our society.

"There can be no doubt that working in a profession such as nursing brings profound responsibilities, and is demanding physically, intellectually and emotionally," President Higgins said.

"To embark on such a career requires certain qualities in order for it to be a fulfilling and enriching experience for both patient and professional.

"Yet, it is something that people choose to do because they have the strength of character, the compassion and the commitment to make such a positive contribution to society.

"Having a career in which you use your knowledge and skills to relieve a person’s suffering is such a positive contribution to make, and one we have come to appreciate more fully in recent times."

President Higgins said that as the country emerges from the Covid-19 crisis it is vital that there is a change in how we regard the state and public expenditure when it comes to health.

"We have all gained hard-won wisdom with regard to the value of frontline workers, such as nurses, and those providing essential services across the economy.

It would be so regrettable, egregious even, if, through some form of collective amnesia, we as a society were ever to disregard or forget your heroic efforts, and revert to where we were before the pandemic – a society that sometimes failed to value you fully.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is highlighting the shortage of nursing in the sector.

General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha says it is an ongoing problem, heightened by the crisis.

"We have been highlighting the shortage of nurses since before the pandemic so obviously that is going to worsen.

"Clearly we have a huge reliance in Ireland on overseas nurses, we are very reliant on nurses particularly from India and the Philippines to keep our services going and we are worried that we now have to make plans because that workforce won't be available to us."

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