THE HUNDREDS of men and women who chose to devote their lives to the care of others in Swindon will be given their due next week as the Great Western Hospital marks International Nurses Day.

On Monday, May 12, nursing staff’s outstanding work and inspiring commitment to patients will be celebrated at an array of events and presentations.

The festivities will culminate in an award ceremony recognising the crème de la crème of nursing at the hospital on Tuesday, May 13.

Hilary Walker, chief nurse, said: “Nurses Day gives us a fantastic opportunity to shout about what nursing means to us, and proudly showcase to others the vital contribution our nurses make. It’s going to be jam-packed and we hope it will prove fun and thought-provoking for everyone.”

The celebrations will begin with a special public exhibition on Monday from 10am until 4pm, looking at nursing through the ages with old uniforms, artefacts and memorabilia on display.

At 2pm, retired nurses will delve into the rich history of the profession and its many changes over the centuries, as well as share anecdotes from their own careers.

A careers drop-in event will also take place for prospective nurses from 10am until 4pm.

There will be special provision for nurses who are not currently in practice but wish to regain their nurse registration or those who work elsewhere and wish to return to acute care.

GWH’s senior nurses and the HR team will be on hand with career advice, along with Oxford Brookes University and University of the West of England.

Rounding off the day will be the unveiling of artwork produced by local school children last year depicting what they think makes a lovely nurse.

GWH will also celebrate one year since the launch of its nursing strategy.

“Our nursing strategy, launched a year ago, was about setting the direction of travel for our nursing workforce and taking frontline patient care to a higher level whether on a ward or in patients’ own homes,” added Hilary.

“A lot has been achieved since we launched the new strategy, including a major £1.1m investment in nurse recruitment and £250,000 invested in training and development, so Nurses Day is also a great opportunity for us to reflect on these achievements and look ahead at what more we need to be working on in the future.”

All the activities and events will take place in the Academy at GWH on the lower ground floor. More information about Nurses Day is available at