Celebrating the year of the nurse and midwife

 Dame Donna Kinnair 28 Feb 2020 Chief Executive and General Secretary

As the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, 2020 offers us all is an exciting opportunity to celebrate our profession across the world. At the RCN, we will use this year to highlight the many achievements of nursing – and the very real challenges we face.

In keeping with the theme of celebration, I was delighted to open our brand-new exhibition, ‘Who cares? A history of emotions in nursing’ earlier this month. This fantastic exhibition looks at the cultural context in which emotions have been understood in nursing. 

Nurses experience a high level of emotion throughout their day to day work, supporting people through birth to death. Nursing staff care about their patients and the work that they do. They support people at their most vulnerable moments, and this will inevitably stir up their own emotions. Over the years, as a profession, we have got better at understanding how carrying these emotions impacts us long term and what that means for managing our own mental health. 

What we are doing now, through this exhibit and initiatives like the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, is giving these emotions a voice. 

We can also use this an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a nurse in 2020. Our next exhibit, out in the spring, is dedicated to Florence Nightingale in her bicentennial year. Florence Nightingale also gave voice to her patients. And like her, nursing staff today continue to advocate for their patients and demand what’s necessary to deliver care. 

There will be a lot more activity across 2020 to mark this momentous year. We will soon be sharing our celebration packs for Nurses Day, and we are pleased to support the Nightingale2020 conference in October. 

I look forward to seeing many of you at these events and putting nursing and midwifery front and centre for both the public and the government in 2020. 
Dame Donna Kinnair

Dame Donna Kinnair

Chief Executive & General Secretary

Prior to her appointment as Acting Chief Executive & General Secretary, Dame Donna was Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice and worked with UK-wide RCN staff to drive and implement RCN professional nursing, policy and practice strategy.

Before joining the RCN, Donna held various roles, including Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust.
Donna advised the PM’s Commission on the future of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010 and served as nurse/child health assessor to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry.

Page last updated - 24/04/2020