Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, was born this day 200 years ago. And so May 12 has been designated International Nurses day, a global celebration of the contributions nurses make to patients and to society.

I wanted to use this space to recognize the incredible work nurses everywhere do and to thank them for being on the frontlines of care. Since arriving at Johns Hopkins more than 30 years ago, I’ve learned so much from remarkable nurses who always advocate for patients and families, and who serve as role models for so many clinical colleagues.

At JHI, we are ardent supporters of the work of our own nurses, as well as all of our colleagues in the JHI family. For more than two decades, we have collaborated with affiliates around the world to empower nurses by providing clinical training and leadership development, introducing new professional roles and encouraging mentoring across borders.

Here are a few recent examples of how we are educating and supporting nurses globally as expert clinicians and leaders:

  • Johns Hopkins nursing experts delivered notable presentations during Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital’s (NMCH) Pediatric Nursing-Practice and Education Conference in South Africa. The theme of the three-day conference, which attracted 200 attendees, was “Strengthening Coordination and Collaboration to Improve Health Outcomes of Children.” JHI worked for several years with Johns Hopkins affiliate Jhpiego to help build the skillsets of pediatric nurses at NMCH, one of only two pediatric specialty hospitals in all of Africa.
  • JHI nurse consultant Wilma Berends facilitated a two-day course on coaching, communications, patient safety and mindfulness for the nursing leadership team at our affiliate Hospital Moinhos de Vento (HMV) in Brazil. She then spoke at HMV’s international nursing symposium, presenting “The Relationship Between Difficult Conversations and Patient Safety.” Wilma also joined JHM Assistant Director of Nursing Eleni Flanagan in Puerto Rico to do a nursing practice assessment and provide recommendations for the nursing practice model that Dorado Beach Health will institute when it opens next year.
  • Six Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare nurses — including nurse managers, unit managers and a charge nurse — traveled from Saudi Arabia to Baltimore for intensive training through the Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing’s Nurse Leadership Academy. They then participated in tailored weeklong observerships alongside their JHM counterparts. These nurse leaders honed skills specific to their care areas, including educating patients to take a more proactive role in their health, reviewing clinical protocols in ophthalmology and using the medical record system Epic to optimize data management.

No matter where they’re located, nurses changes lives. They are always the patient’s strongest advocate and enable their colleague clinicians to expand their reach. They help patients access the highest level of health care ― care that can save their lives.

Today ― and every day ― thank you, nurses, for all you do for our patients and for health care throughout the world.

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