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International Nurses Day: May 12

12 May 2005 for immediate release

International Nurses Day: May 12

Almost 40,000 New Zealand nurses will join millions of colleagues around the world today to celebrate International Nurses Day.

It marks the 185th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. More than 150 years ago, wounded soldiers called for “the lady with the lamp.” Today Florence Nightingale is still considered the mother of modern nursing.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has appropriately selected its theme for the day: Nurses for Patient Safety, with special emphasis in 2005 on targeting counterfeit medicine and substandard medication.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation CEO Geoff Annals says “our nurses have an ongoing responsibility to assist nursing colleagues in countries where these problems exist”.

He says “a special responsibility for New Zealand nurses, given that neither substandard nor counterfeit medicine is a major problem in this country, is to further explore the six major links to patient safety as they do relate to New Zealand.

The first link is identifying and using safe medicine safely; the second link acknowledges the relationship between an adequate reward for good nursing care and patient safety; the third link involves safe staffing levels. As staff levels drop, so inevitably does patient safety. The fourth link refers to care for the elderly; the most critical factor at present is insufficient funding; the fifth link is the Multiple Employer Collective Agreement (MECA), which sets a nationwide standard of pay, of training, of consistency in safe patient care. The last link is ongoing learning and research,” Geoff Annals says.

He says “the New Zealand amended theme of Nurses for Patient Safety embracing these six main links are vital to ensuring that New Zealanders can continue to have the confidence in their nursing care that those soldiers in Crimea did.

“The good will, the dedication, the expertise is there. We can all celebrate that!”


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