LAHORE: Nurses across the city celebrated International Nurses Day to raise the profile of their work in a variety of ways and events. The day is an opportunity to learn about the work of nurses and their workplaces. Many hospitals, day centres, wards, etc, hold seminars, conferences and events and use the day for healthcare promotions and to raise the profile of the profession. It is also a day for nurses worldwide to celebrate their profession and unite to take pride in their jobs and show the world the importance of their work. The reason that nurses day is held on May 12 each year is because this is the date of birth of Florence Nightingale. She made many reforms to nursing and healthcare and drastically cut the death rate amongst soldiers in the Crimean War as a result of her hard work, dedication and training of fellow nurses. The International Council For Nurses (ICN) in America started the event in 1965, though it was not officially recognised by the US government until 1974. In 1999, nurses and public sector employees union UNISON mounted a campaign to change the date and remove the historical importance of Florence Nightingale from “national nurses week” because they felt that she no longer reflected modern day nursing because of her class and social background. They thought that she was not in keeping with the multi-cultural nature of modern nursing. UNISON suggested the day be celebrated on May 21, which was the birthday of Elizabeth Fry. She was a 19th century reformer who founded the Institution of Nursing Sisters several years before Florence Nightingale set up her own nursing team. She went on to improve the life of the mentally ill and made many reforms in hospitals. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) disagreed with this campaign and was backed by many more nurses who felt that Florence Nightingale was an important founder of modern nursing and should rightly be remembered and celebrated on International Nurses Day. Services Hospital Chief Nursing Superintendent Samina Yasmeen said that the noble profession of nursing was a ray of hope and recovery for patients suffering from various ailments. She said that patients express even more confidence in nurses than doctors. “A number of steps and initiatives are needed for the promotion of nursing department in Pakistan,” she said, adding that nurses required more facilities, a sense of security and better service structure. She was of the view that nurses become Allah’s blessing for the ailing humanity and they work shoulder to shoulder with male companions to save human lives. She applauded the Punjab government for recruiting charge nurses through the Punjab Public Service Commission for the first time to meet merit and transparency. “The Punjab government has also regularised contractual nurses, but the government should also regularise those experienced nurses recruited against the posts created by the Board of Management,” she stressed. Nurses Rashida Naureen, Nafeesa Ahmed, Gulshan and others said on this occasion that the number of nurses must be increased in accordance with rapidly increasing number of patients in hospitals. They also emphasised that nurses who had done their specialisations should be posted in the relevant departments so as to get better results. The nurses demanded that residential facilities in the nurses’ hostels and other basic amenities should be improved for the betterment of the nurses’ community. In this regard, speakers at various nursing schools and teaching hospitals across the capital said that nurses work with passion to serve the ailing humanity. They said that nurses continue to work with commitment and dedication during peace and war. They added that nurses should follow in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale, who was a role model for them. It may be mentioned here that the Young Nurses Association (YNA) had been protesting for their longstanding demands for pay-scale upgradation, service structure reforms and health risk allowance provision.