Nurses Day Collage

Nurses' Day 2021

Nursing staff working through the pandemic have shattered the stereotypes of nursing. The world has seen first-hand the fundamental role nursing plays in patient safety.

On Wednesday 12 May 2021, we showcased what it means to nurse and how our members have led patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrating your stories

In conversation with nursing pioneers

Watch our Nurses' Day event featuring RCN Fellows – Jane Ball, Tara Bartley and Ruth Oshikanlu – about the challenges and opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic has presented for nursing.

Video messages to members

Watch Nurses' Day video messages from Emilia Clarke, Vanessa Redgrave, Pat Cullen, Dame Professor Anne-Marie Rafferty and Tracey Budding.

Read our member stories

We’re showcasing 12 members whose work demonstrate how nursing staff have been leading patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read their stories below. 
Neomi Bennett

"During the pandemic, I noticed black nurses weren’t always getting the protection they needed. I created Equality 4 Black Nurses, a vital support group for nurses who feel they’ve been discriminated against at work."

> Neomi's story

Jo-anne Fowles 600x400

"I am a nurse consultant providing specialist care for people with severe COVID-19. I work in one of only five UK units that offer extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – a support for patients whose lungs are struggling to function."

> Jo-anne's story

"I am a heath care assistant working in a pain and palliative care team to make sure no-one dies alone during the pandemic. I get to know my patients’ individual needs and I’m there for them and their families during the last days of their lives."

> Lisa's story

Suresh Packiam

"I’m an RCN cultural ambassador supporting BAME nursing staff. During the pandemic, I co-founded the British Indian Nurses Association to offer coaching, mentoring and friendship for nurses of Indian origin working in the UK."

> Suresh's story

"I’m the clinical co-ordinator of a COVID-19 mass vaccination centre. I monitor stocks, oversee vaccinators, and make sure the centre is as efficient and patient-friendly as possible. This is a proud moment for nursing. Hope really is in our hands."

> Louise's story

Alison Mulligan

"I’m a care home manager. When COVID-19 arrived in the UK, I used my experience as an infection control nurse specialist to act fast, keeping the virus out and my residents safe."

> Alison's story


 "The pandemic transformed the final year of my nursing degree. I took on a paid clinical placement in an A&E department and moved in with other nursing students to keep my family safe."

> Amin's story

Aileen Burn 600x400

"I am a research matron who ran COVID-19 vaccine trials. I coordinate skilled teams, specialist equipment and meticulous process to create safe and successful trials. It’s an honour to be part of the vaccine programme. I'm so proud to say I'm a nurse."

> Aileen's story

Rosa Ungpakorn

"As an advanced nurse practitioner, I created a street nursing initiative to reach people experiencing homelessness. During the pandemic I helped provide care for those temporarily housed in hotels, while advocating for those left outside. This situation has shown the importance of street outreach."

> Rosa's story

Elaine Thorpe

"I’m a matron running busy ICUs in normal times. During the pandemic we expanded significantly and depended on nurses from other areas to support us. My focus is always on supporting staff to do their best in the most difficult circumstances. It’s the hardest thing any of us have ever done, but the team is amazing, and it’s a privilege to care for patients who are suffering so terribly."

> Elaine's story

Hilary Nelson

"I’m an RCN steward who speaks up for nursing staff. I helped one nurse get the adapted uniform she needed following her cancer treatment. It took a lot of courage for her to ask for support, but now her dignity has been restored."

> Hilary's story

Linda Graham

"I led six care homes during the pandemic. I fought for more PPE and testing, and used technology to improve patient care and provide vital family contact. It’s been a scary year for us all, but support from other nursing staff and the local community have helped us through."

> Linda's story

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Nurses' Day 2021 highlights

Explore the Nurses' Day 2021 highlights on social media
Photo of a nurse. Text that says 'I am a nurse'

Read our Nurses' Day news story

RCN marks Nurses' Day 2021

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