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Coronavirus: Public urged to shine light from homes in honour of hero nurses

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Tribute: Florence Nightingale

Tribute: Florence Nightingale

PA

Tribute: Florence Nightingale

People in Northern Ireland are being encouraged to shine a light from their windows in recognition of the role of nurses in the coronavirus fight.

The symbolic gesture this week will be a nod to the lamp that Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, was known to carry.

Tomorrow marks both International Nurses Day and the 200th anniversary of Nightingale's birth.

Her image and a message of thanks will be projected from Parliament on to her place of work, St Thomas' Hospital, while similar projections will happen at the British Embassy in Rome and the Italian Federation of Nurses.

Thousands of former nurses have come out of retirement to help the health service deal with the coronavirus outbreak and thousands of students are also helping by working in extended clinical placements.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: "International Nurses Day is particularly important this year not only because it is the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth, but because of the exceptional work of nurses in our response to coronavirus.

"I want to thank each and every one of our incredible nurses who are on the front line in the battle against the greatest public health crisis of our time.

"I know how much the public's support and the clapping that has been ringing out from doorsteps every Thursday has buoyed our health and social care workers.

"It would mean a great deal if people once again showed their gratitude by shining a light for nurses this Tuesday."

First Minister Arlene Foster said: "How fitting it is that 2020 has been designated the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, because this is the year that we will remember the enormous contribution of our nurses and healthcare staff in the fight against Coronavirus.

"Florence Nightingale's dedication, skill and transformative care of patients is synonymous with the values and expertise so evident in the modern day nursing profession in Northern Ireland.

"This Tuesday, on International Nurses Day, let us recognise their incredible dedication, their professionalism, and their enormous personal sacrifice for the good of us all."

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said: "Our nurses are a shining light.

"While this emergency situation has brought their contribution to the fore, we must recognise the importance of their role in caring for us, and our families, throughout our lives.

"When we come out the other side of this crisis, one of the positives we can take from it is ensuring that our nurses and other health and social care staff get the recognition they deserve.

A range of local landmarks, monuments and council buildings will be illuminated blue, the colour of the nurse, tomorrow evening.

Professor Greta Westwood, CEO of the Florence Nightingale Foundation, said: "Florence Nightingale, herself a trailblazer during her career, would have been proud at the way nurses have followed in her footsteps as pioneers and leaders in the fight against the pandemic."

Belfast Telegraph