Their dedication, compassion and commitment is to be hailed tonight at 8.30pm as the nation is asked to shine a light in recognition of nurses everywhere on this special day.

We asked some of the nurses at Oxford Health what IND2020 means to them and why they love doing what they do. Prepare to be inspired and moved by what they had to say.

Matt Kent, Senior Nurse Clinical Lead: “Happy International Nurses Day to all my colleagues: Now more than ever before, has it struck me what a brilliant breed we are. Nurses will pull out the stops, often to our own detriment. Nurses are there 24/7 helping, healing and holding people through trauma. I am honoured to be part of the nurse profession and have been since 1989. We should be proud of the standards we uphold and the values we stand for. Not all heroes wear capes, but some do wear uniforms, fob watches and / or lanyards!”

Mandy McKendry, Matron for Urgent Care Out of Hours and Minor injuries Units: I believe that nursing is truly an honour, where people at their most vulnerable allow you to share, for a short space of time their lives, so that you  can support and assist them to become the people they were before their current ill-health. It is truly a privilege. Every day I do something to make the lives of our patients a little bit better and they in turn enrich my life. No other job does that – I am truly very proud to be a nurse.”

Carol Gee, Modern Matron-Vaughan Thomas and Allen Ward:I love being a mental health nurse. It’s the most wonderful experience to be able to make a positive difference for someone at a really difficult time in their lives, to learn new things every day, to be inspired, challenged and enriched by the people we care for. I started in 1987. Scary it’s been that long, but I still love it and wouldn’t change any of it.”

Gareth Bevan, Sapphire Ward manager, Ayelsbury: “Being a nurse for me means I am able to work outside the box, no hum drum 9-5, just helping others and experiencing something new every day.”

Dan Boultbee-Jefferys, Physical Health Lead Nurse: “Nursing to me means being able to be a part of somebody’s journey and support them to overcome difficulties they may experience”

Rose Hombo, Head of Nursing, Buckinghamshire Mental Health: Happy International Nurses Day to all my colleagues. For every nurse out there, I salute you. Please take five minutes today to say to the nurse standing by you how you appreciate them and how proud you are – like me – to be a nurse. I became a nurse because what else can one do as a profession where you are able to see someone at their lowest point in life  (health wise)  and you walk with them on their journey to recovery, whatever that recovery means to the person? I have been a nurse for over 25 years; not a single day has been the same and brings such personal joy.”

Britta Klinck, Deputy Director of Mental Health Nursing: Nursing to me is much more than a job, a career, a way of making a living, it is a choice to live a certain life, it is part of my identity for the last 26 years and I always am and always will be a nurse. Someone recently said that nurses are special because they give a little bit of their soul away to complete strangers on a daily basis, and I thought that is true. But what it doesn’t say is how much we are given back; the privilege it is to be alongside people through their darkest and most challenging times; to witness their bravery and strength and be able to truly appreciate what it is to be human in its many and complex ways. To, in whatever way possible, be part of that person’s journey.

Carol Duncombe, Community Hospitals service manager: I have been nursing for 42 years and have seen so many changes in the journey, to become a nurse and the journey of the patients through the contact they have with health care. Over time sometimes  the profile of nurse has not always shone as bright as it did at the start of my career. IND 2020 has come at a time when health care workers have seen the public realise the importance of our role and the impact on the health of the nation. I have never once during my career wanted to do anything else but be a nurse. I am proud of the difference I have made over the years and would encourage anyone to become a nurse because it is great to serve.

Karen Lascelles, Nurse Consultant: “I’m proud of being a nurse and of all the nurses who are always there for those who need our care, whatever their circumstances.  Nurses meet challenges head on and we have the unique ability to deliver compassionate care and skilled interventions in myriad conditions, including fear, chaos, confusion, trauma and acuity.  Three cheers for nurses on International Nurses Day.”

Claire Forrest, Clinical Nurse Lead for Older Adult Mental Health (Oxon & Bucks): “The joy for me in nursing is that there are always opportunities to learn, develop and support.  When I see that the work I am doing and the encounters I have with people make a difference to someone on that day be it patients, carers, families, students or colleagues, it makes me feel very privileged to be a nurse. I came across this quote recently which when I read it made me think about the nursing profession, how in the smallest acts which we do everyday can have such a significant impact on individuals lives something which is often forgotten about in our busy day to day schedules: Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn life around (Leo Buscaglia).”

Dr Cathy Henshall, NIHR 70@70 Senior Nurse Research Leader, Senior Nursing Research Fellow, Oxford Brookes University & Head of Research Delivery at Oxford Health: “When I think of all the roles and experiences I’ve had as a nurse, I realise how much it has shaped my life, my values and who I am as a person. Whether working in oncology, surgical settings, or within research, I am awed by my amazing fellow nurses and our collective sense of what it means to be a nurse. My nursing colleagues have been with me at some of the best and the worst times and have made me a stronger, more resilient person as a result. Happy International Nurses Day to us all – we should be very proud!”

 If you’ve been inspired by what they have said, join the Oxford Health family. See our careers pages on how you can get on the first rung of the nursing ladders, find new nursing opportunities or return to practice.