#IND2023: This International Nurses Day, let’s celebrate being nurses

12 May is a day to celebrate nurses, the amazing work we do, and wish Florence Nightingale a happy birthday.

It’s International Nurses’ Day!


This year’s theme is Our Nurses. Our Future. The International Council of Nurses explains:

Our Nurses. Our Future. will be a global campaign which sets out what we want for nursing in the future in order to address the global health challenges and improve global health for all. We need to learn from the lessons of the pandemic and translate these into actions of the future.

With the release of the State of the World’s Nursing report, the Global Strategic Directions for Nursing & Midwifery, the Sustain and Retain in 2022 and Beyondand many other important publications, ICN and other organisations have shown the evidence for change and called for action. It is now time to look to the future and demonstrate what these investments will mean for nursing and healthcare. The Our Nurses. Our Future. campaign will shine the light on nurses and on a brighter future

Our community of nurses is amazing. Thank you for everything that you do for others. We want to ask you to do just as much for yourself by bringing new focus to your wellbeing as the key to our future. Our individual wellbeing is essential to our collective wellbeing. Today we’re sharing some resources we’ve collated to help you.


Happy birthday Florence! Undated woodcut print courtesy of the Wellcome Collection.

Promote wellbeing at your workplace

If wellbeing is a bit under done at your organisation, why not suggest some activities and intiatives that you think your colleagues will want to join. The best ideas come from you. Consider combining physical activity with a chance to get together — get together with colleagues for a dog walking group, running program with colleagues or yoga sessions. For more ideas, check out our podcast with exercise physiologist Liz Hewett.

Invest in your wellbeing

Roster hacks

Think about what you need from your roster, rather than agreeing to whatever shifts come your way.

You may prefer your weekends at home, or earlier or later shifts. Find a pattern that suits you. Some like to ‘quarantine’ a day or an evening once a week or fortnight from work to pursue a regular activity such as book club, an exercise class or just time to relax.

If you find it hard to advocate for the shifts you want, check out this advice from professional boundaries expert Dr Wendy McIntosh.

Slow down

Discover the power of the deep breath and the long exhale. Focus on the moment and you’ll find that you ‘gain’ time, slow your heart rate and reset your brain. For ideas listen to our podcast with Evolve Yourself Institute: The Importance of Practicing Self-Care For Nurses.

Focus on sleep

Try a sleep schedule. It can be life changing. Make it adaptable and be kind to yourself when you don’t make it into or out of bed at the set time. Blackout blinds or curtains can help, especially if you work nights. Some people find white noise apps a great aid to staying asleep. Another sleep ‘hack’ is meditating – there are lots free to try.

If you’d like more tips to sleep check out our podcast: Sleep and shift work with Amy Benn

Strive for balance in work and life

Try standing on one leg

You’re going to wobble, but that’s ok. Professor Dawn Skelton says that wobble is an opportunity to recalibrate your brain, form new connections and strengthen coordination. Learn more about the power of the wobble in Professor Skelton’s interview with the BBC podcast: Just One Thing with Michael Mosley. Remember, balance is something we can work on.

Connect with family and friends time versus work time

Have you ever tried measuring the amount of time that you spend at work against time with your family, friends and loved ones? Connection brings amazing health benefits. It is like insurance for your wellbeing. The book Burnout Solve Your Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelie Nagoski is a great read that explores the benefits of connection. Look for a review in our upcoming newsletter.

Managing and leading nurses – keeping them well

How can our leaders promote wellbeing in the workforce? Here are some ideas.

Listen without judgement and offer support

This is a very powerful way to engage with your peers and team. Helping someone to know they are not alone is more important than trying to fix the issue. Check out experienced leader Nino Di Pasquale’s tips on supporting your employee’s mental health.

Facilitate flexible ways of working

Change the way you have always done things. Allow your team to decrease their hours temporarily, let them work at specific times, or help them to attend appointments.

Promote staff health and wellbeing

Make sure your policies and procedures are up-to-date — and ensure that those policies are put into action; discuss ways work can help to maintain health and wellbeing.

Make wellbeing a part of the performance conversation

Include questions about your team members’ self-care or work life balance in important reviews and conversations. When we centre self-care in these discussions, we acknowledge it is important and integral to their performance and give our staff permission to make it a priority.

Remember, our code of conduct requests that nurses “act to reduce the effect of fatigue and stress on their health, and on their ability to provide safe care”.

Contact us

Wherever you find yourself during International Nurses Day 2023, take a moment to celebrate, breathe deeply and reflect on your amazing career. If there’s anything you need to talk to another nurse about, call 1800 667 877 or email us — free, confidential, 24/7.