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Celebrating RAF Nurses on International Nurses Day 2024

International Nurses Day (IND) is celebrated around the world every 12 May, to coincide with the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. Led by the International Council of Nurses (ICN), IND 2024 aims to reshape perceptions, demonstrating how investment in nursing can bring considerable economic and societal benefits.

“On International Nurses Day 2024, I commend all nurses for their professionalism, commitment and bravery.  They are invaluable, extraordinary individuals, who are courageous, caring and committed to their patients.

I wanted to personally offer a thank you, to all our nurses for their unwavering compassion, tireless professionalism and clinical excellence - at home and around the world. Your dedication, compassion, optimism and kindness do not go unnoticed.

To our amazing staff, and nurses around the world, we take this day, and every day to appreciate and celebrate the endless service you provide us with.”

Group Captain Thompson
AH Med Pers & Training and Director of Nursing Services (RAF)

Hear from one of our Nurses:

International Nurses Day presents an opportunity to celebrate the bravery and reflect on the experiences of the nurses working in the RAF. Here we hear from Flight Sergeant Palmer on her journey:

"I joined the RAF on 30 October 2002 as a Student Nurse and trained at Portsmouth University, graduating in January 2006. I wanted to be a nurse as I have a deep-seated passion for helping others during their most vulnerable moments and I feel that nursing has provided me with the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives."

Flight Sergeant Palmer

Flight Sergeant Palmer said: "Being a member of the (Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service) PMRAFNS has not only allowed me to pursue this passion but has also allowed me to have a varied and fulfilling career over the last 21 and a half years with opportunities that I otherwise would not have had access to; from working as a staff nurse alongside NHS colleagues, a Flight Nurse as part of the Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron both on an Operational Deployment in Afghanistan and at RAF Brize Norton, being part of a military COVID-19 vaccination team for three months in Nottingham, to my current role as Defence Trainer at Aviator Command Squadron, RAF Halton where I am able to utilise the leadership and management skills I have developed in my primary role to influence the next generation of Senior Non-Commissioned Officer’s of all professions, including nurses, within the RAF.

FS Palmer Portrait

Having been a nurse for 18 years I have certainly had my fair share of both good and bad days and every nurse will have that one experience or patient that will never leave them. Personally, some of my worst days were caring for polytrauma patients at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at the QEHB, seeing first-hand the life changing injuries sustained during Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, seeing them overcome these challenges through not only their own courage and determination but through the small part that I played in helping to care for them alongside the wider NHS Multidisciplinary Team meant that these were also some of the best days of my career so far.

For me IND is about recognising the invaluable contribution nurses make to healthcare worldwide, highlighting the tireless dedication, compassion and expertise needed to provide excellent care to individuals and communities in often challenging circumstances. Nurses play a crucial role in promoting health, saving lives and advocating for the wellbeing of all and I believe that it is important that the profession continues to be both recognised and celebrated."

The Future of Aerospace Medicine - InsideAIR:

While scientists and engineers develop the RAF’s sixth generation combat aircraft, a specialist team of aviation and space medicine consultants are working hard to mitigate the effects which flying the aircraft will have on the aircrew’s body.

Take a listen below, where you can also hear about what the RAF’s Aviation and Space Medicine Consultants are doing to reduce the risk of G-LOC (g-force induced loss of consciousness) in sixth generation combat aircraft. InsideAIR's Medical Correspondent, Wing Commander Sarah Charters, went to the centrifuge at RAF Cranwell to meet the team working on this challenge, and to find out about the future of aerospace medicine.

The celebrations for IND conclude with the annual Florence Nightingale Commemorative Service, which is held at Westminster Abbey on 15 May. The event is held to celebrate nursing and midwifery, and is held in partnership with the Florence Nightingale Foundation.