I was privileged to attend The Nurse Celebratory Event, held annually at Westminster Abbey which honours the lives of both Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell, so powerful in their own ways, so different in others, yet great leaders and innovators for our profession. As I watched the various processions walk up the aisle of Westminster Abbey, in the presence of HRH Princess Alexandra, I was filled with nostalgia and pride at my chosen profession, nursing, and the enormous impact it had throughout my life.
I reflected on my training at The (Royal) London Hospital and was delighted to see three sisters in traditional uniform, present by honouring Edith Cavell who also trained at 'The London.' Nurses from all disciplines were present, from the Armed Forces, NHS, student nurses from the University of Hertfordshire and of course, the private sector, including Bupa, from The Cromwell, Clinics, Insurance, Richmond villages and Care Services. Whilst there were clearly many retired nursing personnel present, all ages were represented, many of whom were visibly moved by the singing of the magnificent Abbey choir. The service of remembrance and commemoration lasted an hour and Kathryn Dee, Lead Nurse for care services read a prayer remembering those within the Armed Forces. As we filed out into the sunshine at the end of the service, the Abbey bells rang out and it seemed appropriate that we had celebrated the lives of these two women.
All Bupa staff present then had afternoon tea in the Church House, Westminster, a grade 2 listed building which is a conference centre and Home of the headquarters of the Church of England! We were strategically seated next to colleagues from other areas of the business which promoted lots of networking and sharing of information, ideas and memories - new friends were made!
We then received updates from our Lead Nurses across the business about development and innovative practices in their chosen areas and heard from several nurses how leadership training had enhanced their role, followed by a lively and interactive Q&A session. Katie Lansley, Head of Clinical Leadership and Engagement at Bupa UK, then gave an insightful talk about the development opportunities available to nurses, including the Excellence in healthcare programmes.
Caroline Stanger, Director of Clinical Leadership at Bupa Global, spoke to the room about the Global Bupa Nurse Fellowship, which awards up to £10,000 to five nurses to fund their professional, educational and development goals. We remembered that there are Bupa Nurses across the world, in thirteen countries no less and we were encouraged to write 'a message' on a huge banner which is being taken across the world to Bupa nursing events to show that nursing has no boundaries.