By Alison Morton – iHV Executive Director

International Nurses Day (IND) is celebrated each year on 12 May, on the birthday of Florence Nightingale. It is wonderful to be able to come together with nurses from across the globe and shine a light on the incredible work that we all do which is often not given the recognition it deserves.

This year’s IND theme is ‘A voice to lead’ – a powerful call to action to raise awareness of the breadth and complexity of the work of nurses as leaders in the modern healthcare system. As the single largest workforce group in healthcare, nurses are there at every turn, making a real difference to virtually every person on our shared planet from the very beginning of life to its end.

On International Nurses Day, we want to acknowledge the professionalism, expertise, skill and commitment of health visitors, and nurses working in health visiting teams, to improving the lives of babies, young children and families. Health visitors matter. As skilled Specialist Community Public Health Nurses, health visitors are a ‘voice to lead’ improvements in child health and reduce inequalities through their ‘upstream’ public health focus in the heart of communities.

Don’t just take our word for it – this week we were delighted to celebrate the launch of The First 1001 Days Movement report “Why health Visitors Matter: perspectives on a widely valued service”. This report is a compilation of short testimonies from parents, professionals and charity leaders that show the breadth and depth of health visitors’ work and its importance. We are indebted to all the members of this alliance who have joined together with us to call on the Government for investment in health visiting.

This week, as part of Mental Health Awareness week, we have also showcased the important work that health visitors do supporting families with perinatal mental illness and tackling loneliness in so many innovative ways – read Hilda Beauchamp’s blog – “Lift someone out of loneliness”.

Last night I was also privileged to join with nurses from across the UK, and representatives from across the world, at the Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service at Westminster Abbey. The event provided an opportunity to celebrate achievements and also raise awareness of the challenges that nurses are facing around the world with a call to action. The International Council of Nurses is calling for investment in nursing and respect to secure global health.

Join the campaign – showcase the great work that you are doing by using the #IND2022 and #VoiceToLead hashtags on social media.

There is so much to celebrate – help tell the story of health visiting – or others may tell it for us and they may get it wrong!

See our infographic for details on the breadth of the work of health visitors.