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Profession praised on International Nurses' Day

The vital work of nurses was praised today (12 May 2011) as political leaders paid tribute to the profession in recognition of International Nurses' Day.

The prime minister and other key figures from across the political spectrum, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband, and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley all recorded video messages pledging their support for nursing and thanking nurses for their work.

Many thousands of people have also signed a pledge in support of nurses on the Royal College of Nurses' (RCN) Nurses' Day website.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:
 “Nurses are the beating heart of our treasured NHS, and I can say that from personal experience.

He added: 
“It is right that today, we should all take a moment to show our nurses just how much we value them, and I hope as many people as possible will join me in signing the Nurses' Day pledge to show their support today.”

Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive, highlighted the work nurses carry out above and beyond the call of duty, and called for their achievements to be recognised.

He said: 
“Nurses' Day is an opportunity for all of us, whether we are patients, nurses or politicians, to reflect on the value of a profession whose worth is clearer than ever as we deal with an aging population who increasingly need care.

“Medical advances are helping people to live longer, but it is nursing which can help them to live well and make those extra years worth having. I am very pleased that in spite of all that is going on in the NHS at the moment, political leaders and MPs of all persuasions have made time to recognise the value of nursing.”

However, Dr Peter Carter cautioned that the NHS is facing tough times, and an uncertain political and economic situation. He added: “Goodwill and commitment is not always enough, and many nurses are now contacting us for advice as they are facing redundancy, debt and repossession.

“In hard times, the important thing is to keep nurses in the profession, and able to give their best to patients.”

The Nurses' Day website can be found at