“From caring comes courage”

International Nurses Day is marked every 12th May (the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth) and is a celebration of the dedicated men and women who dedicate their lives to taking care of others. This year we want to take the opportunity to shine a light on the heroes of the Neonatal Unit, the incredible nurses who go above and beyond to support neonatal babies and their families. We know that the nurses you meet during your stay on the unit play an enormous part in your story, so join us in saying thank you for everything that they do, today and every day. 

The theme of International Nurses Day 2024 is ‘Our Nurses, Our Future and the Economic Power of Care’ and this year, organisations around the world are joining together to reshape misconceptions and demonstrate how investment in nurses and the profession can bring benefits to the economy, as well as society as a whole. 

Arriving on the Neonatal Unit can be an overwhelming and confusing experience, but knowing that there is a team of nurses dedicated to taking care of your new arrival, and you, can be a lifeline to parents trying to navigate the journey. To celebrate the incredible work that the nurses on Ward 35 deliver, we thought we would share what our parents have shared about the nurses they met during their time on the unit. 

“The nurses were so kind and helpful, reassuring me, it amazed me that they took such an interest in our little family & that we could trust them to look after and care for our absolute world when we weren’t around. One thing’s for sure, the support we felt, the love and the tears shed from some of the nurses on the day of discharge, made us feel so cared for and that we’d be truly missed.” 

– Theo’s Mam, Nicola 

“My wife could not travel after having an emergency C-section so I travelled 54 miles to the RVI leaving my wife in hospital with family in our hometown. It was a lot to take in… The nurses were brilliant with me; a deer in the headlights! They talked me through everything without overwhelming me with too much. Seeing my son lying there with all the machines, wires, and tubes helping him push through was a harsh beginning as a first-time father and threw me back a bit. As a father, I felt the need to protect my son but I was totally helpless! We had to put our trust in the nurses and the volunteers, who throughout our time on ward 35, would reassure me and my wife. I honestly think without them there I would have struggled massively with trying to process what was happening and I’m forever grateful.”

– Tommy’s Dad, Adam. 

“Meeting the surgeon all I can remember was looking at his hands and thinking how can hands that big perform surgery on my tiny little baby? I can remember his lips moving but I wasn’t taking in anything he said. I was reassured by the nurses during the whole four hours Harper was in surgery. The nurses walked me around the ward and talked through everything I needed to know. I can’t thank Ward 35 enough and all the staff that work there because if it wasn’t for every single one of them, Harper wouldn’t have survived. Everyone that works on Ward 35 is an Angel in disguise.” 

– Harper’s Mam Chelsey 

“The only thing that made this time remotely manageable was the support of the doctors and nurses who took care of Freddie in his last few days. Lindsay was Freddie’s nurse and she supported us and our family through the final moments, finding the right words to say in a time when nothing felt right. She was there with us when Freddie died and spent the rest of the day bathing, dressing, and taking care of him and us. That compassion and genuine kindness is something we will never forget.”

– Freddie’s Mam, Fran 

“On the Neonatal unit, the nurses were so kind in such a daunting situation, I could touch Oliver’s hand through the window of the incubator and then they got him out for me to hold all the while offering reassurance that he was comfortable.” 

– Oliver’s Mam, Louise 

“I was scared and overwhelmed but the nurses were so supportive and gave me his bay number so I could call anytime even though I was only in the next ward. Throughout George’s stay in Ward 35, the staff was unbelievable. They supported and encouraged our wishes to do skin-to-skin and even reassured my husband when he was nervous. I went through so many emotions during George’s stay and I never felt like I was bothering the nurses or doctors by calling for updates, asking questions, turning up at silly hours during the day, or asking what I needed to do for his care. Nothing was ever too much for them and they made our time there a lot easier.’

George’s mam 

At Tiny Lives, we’re not only there for the families who spend time on the unit, but we also offer support to the neonatal unit staff so they can continue to deliver their incredible work. Nurses and other staff on the unit can apply for funding for a variety of things, including specialist training courses, travel and accommodation to get to those courses, specific materials that might help their specialism or department (like craft materials or books), or aid with support groups. 

Join us in saying a huge thank you this International Nurses Day to all of the nurses working on Ward 35 and those dedicating their skills to supporting neonatal babies and their families around the world.