A day of celebrations to mark International Nurses’ Day takes place today starting with a free breakfast for hard-working staff at George’s, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and Health Group.

A packed programme of events will take place to recognise the amazing work that the thousands of nurses and midwives working for the group do day in, day out.

Between 7am and 9am at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals, nurses and midwives – who will either be starting or finishing a long shift – will receive a well-earned breakfast served by senior staff working across the group, including Group Chief Nurse Arlene Wellman.

Those at St George’s, meanwhile, will receive breakfast vouchers followed by snack boxes and cupcakes delivered to clinical areas within nursing establishments at St George’s by Group Chief Executive Jacqueline Totterdell and Managing Director for St George’s Kate Slemeck. Refreshment stands and other activities including massage and reflexology have also been set up to enjoy by nursing staff.

Arlene Wellman MBE, Group Chief Nursing Officer at George’s, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and Health Group, shared a message with all 17,000 staff to recognise the efforts of nursing and midwifery colleagues.

She said: “Today marks International Nurses’ Day which is always a special day for nurses around the world and, much like last week’s International Day of the Midwife, this year is particularly significant for me as it’s my first as Group Chief Nurse across our two organisations.

“I see and hear examples of outstanding care every day and I’ve been so impressed by our nursing staff – not just as leaders and team members, but as caring, compassionate people who put patients first.

“I qualified as a general registered nurse in Trinidad before migrating to the UK to continue my career. During that time, I’ve held several roles at different Trusts, and have now become the most senior internationally trained nurse in an acute Trust in the UK – which is something I’m incredibly proud of. I hope all our nurses are equally proud of the journeys that have brought them to their roles today.

“Our workforce is very diverse, with nurses and midwives joining Epsom and St Helier (including Surrey Downs Health and Care and Sutton Health and Care) and St George’s from all over the world. We are also fortunate to have a wide range of roles across the group – from nurse consultants, health care assistants and maternity support workers, to clinical nurse specialists and nurse associates – totalling more than 5,600 staff. These are factors that make a career in nursing at our hospital group so varied and rewarding.”

Events to further celebrate nurses at George’s, Epsom and St Helier will continue long into the afternoon.

At St George’s, thank you cards designed by one of the Trust’s paediatric patients will be distributed, and staff will be encouraged to write a message of thanks to a nursing or healthcare assistant colleague. Teams are also encouraged to decorate where they work – with an award up for grabs for the best-decorated area.

On top of this, there will be a St George’s Hospital Charity raffle, and a virtual event that will feature an awards ceremony and quiz.

Over at Epsom and St Helier, there will be an International Nurses’ Day conference with some high-profile speakers from across the Trust. They will speak about important topics, including plans for the future, and the work the Trust is doing to improve experiences for women from BAME communities.

The Group will also be getting involved in the Royal College of Nursing’s #BestOfNursing campaign for International Nurses’ Day on social media.

Interested in a career in nursing? St George’s, Epsom and St Helier are hiring!

St George’s nursing vacancies: http://jobs.stgeorges.nhs.uk/job_list/s1/Nursing_Midwifery?_ts=1

Epsom and St Helier nursing vacancies: http://jobs.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/job_list/s1/Nursing_Midwifery?_ts=1