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Round-Up: Students' Day and Commemoration Service 2017

On Wednesday 17th May 2017, The Florence Nightingale Foundation held its annual Students' Day at St Thomas' Hospital and Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service at Westminster Abbey.

A record 88 student nurses from all over the UK attended our annual Students Day held at the atmospheric Governors Hall, St Thomas’ Hospital.

In the morning, the students were given the opportunity to raise issues as they perceived them in an environment where they felt able to openly talk about their experiences of working in healthcare to date.  An experienced and diverse panel were able to guide and support the students in how they might approach the issues affecting them. The session was very interactive and most enlightening on all sides. The issues raised by the students were far reaching and demonstrated an incredible insight into the challenges faced in healthcare and how they, as the leaders of the future, were keen to shape and influence.


Particular thanks goes to the panel, from left to right: Geoffrey Walker OBE (chair), Wendy Matthews, Claire Pryor, Dr Joan Myers OBE and Professor Fiona Nolan.

In the afternoon, the students visited the Florence Nightingale Museum and had the opportunity to explore parts of the historic St Thomas’ Hospital, where Florence herself once worked.

Initial feedback has been superb:

“It was an invaluable experience and I was overwhelmed yet inspired by every nurse throughout the day”

“Truly inspirational and motivating”

“An amazing experience to meet with other students who are truly passionate about nursing and the future of nursing”

In the evening, the students crossed the river and joined the rest of the congregation for our annual Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service at Westminster Abbey. As in previous years, the event was hugely popular and feedback from the 2000+ congregation has been extremely positive, with many commenting on the very appropriate words spoken by the Dean in his address which resonated with many nurses in the Abbey.


Our Royal Patron, HRH Princess Alexandra, attended the service this year. Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England and Michael Macfadyen, Sandra Charitable Trust Trustee, provided the readings. This year’s Lamp Bearer was a previous research scholar, Sandra Mononga, with Gerry Bolger and Sarah Noble, previous leadership scholars, acting as her escorts. The students’ procession was a combination of nursing and midwifery students from Edinburgh Napier University. The Master and Wardens of the Guild of the Nurses also processed, a new feature which was very well received.

Our thanks go out to all those who worked so hard on this moving and inspirational service. With special thanks to Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland, who sponsored the Service and to Bupa, who once again kindly sponsored the reception after the Service and the tea during the rehearsal.

More photos from the Commemoration Service can be found HERE.

Ticket applications for the 2018 Commemoration Service are not yet open, but please do keep checking the website.