A group of six students and two tutors from the nursing programme at Canada’s Camosun College will celebrate International Nurses Day today in Porirua. The group is here as part of a field study experience in conjunction with Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Ora Toa Health Services and the Capital and Coast District Health Board. This is the second visit for tutor Renate Gibbs, who also brought a cohort of students out last year for a five-week field study with colleague Hazell Penn.
Penn said she was inspired to bring students to Whitireia after reading about the work of the Faculty of Health’s Dean Emeritus, Dr Margaret Southwick, who was instrumental in the development of the nursing programme at Whitireia and established both the Bachelor of Nursing Māori and Bachelor of Nursing Pacific degrees.
The Camosun College students are being hosted by students from the Whitireia nursing programme for the first two weeks of their visit, allowing both cohorts to share their cultures and experiences within the health context. International Nurses Day also provides them with the opportunity to celebrate together the global solidarity and recognition of their chosen profession.
The day is an initiative of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and is celebrated around the world every May 12, the anniversary of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. This year, the focus is on the many ways in which nurses can contribute to developing strong and resilient health systems locally, nationally and globally.
The ICN states that governments and policymakers must understand that nursing leaders, who understand their role in developing a workforce to meet new challenges, are essential in addressing future health challenges.