Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service and Students Day 2023

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Karolina Bielinska is a third-year student nurse. She is studying adult nursing at New Buckinghamshire University. 

Karolina is a member of the Frimley ICS Student Council. In this blog, she talks about her recent attendance at the FNF Students Day and the Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service.

“I attended the Florence Nightingale Students Day 2023, held in London on the 16th of May. I attended the panels and Professor Greta Westwood’s presentation. All of these had an uplifting spirit, that regardless of obstacles and delays, the beauty of nursing lies in the never-ending journey of challenging yourself and accepting the good and the bad that happens on the path. It lies in accepting the difficulty and overcoming it. It teaches us that this craving that all healthcare professionals have to help make a positive difference in people’s lives can happen thanks to our determination to find and fill the words care, compassion, courage, commitment, communication and competence with meaningful action.

Every panellist shared words of passion and wisdom, and I could write about every and each of those inspirational quotes, but in greatest summary to me as a student, seeing ‘Florence’s of today’ made me realize that what made them leaders of our future, are all those life moments that broke and build, and those obstacles. Their voice is more powerful and authentic because they have been through various life experiences, making them relatable to those who look for inspiration and motivation in their stories.

Also, they can represent our voices because they started at the same point as all other nurses and built their way through.

That led me to question, what if I look behind my arm at my journey so far. We should look back at every vital moment of the trip to see how far we have come. To reflect on all the inspirational moments, to think about incredible people that affected our journey and supported us and to look at all those obstacles that delayed the journey but also shaped it. One of my favourite quotes from the Early Career Panel was, ‘No, it is a different way to travel! Do not make it a stop sign!’. Let us think how many ‘No’ Florence heard in her life! It brought me back to all those I have heard and grown because of them. Without some of them, my journey would be easier, but also I would not meet incredible people who made it fuller and richer.

I think everyone should make a list of what has happened so far to proudly look at their journey, so when they look ahead to see the goal, it feels like it is close and easy to achieve and to see how strong their passion is for caring and helping others.

The grand finale of the student’s day was a Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service held this year at St Paul’s Cathedral, where 2,000 nurses and midwives from across the globe celebrated and appreciated Florence’s life and the work of ‘Florence’s of today’. It indeed created a sense of belonging, but also it felt that the light from Florence’s lamp represents and ignites even stronger nursing passion and determination. As Florence Nightingale has foreseen and wrote, ‘When I am no longer even a memory, just a name. I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life.’ In every evidence-based practice of incredible nurses, her work lives on.”

If you would like to find out more about the Student Council Programme, please click here.