Ministry of Health & Social Development
BVI Health Services Authority
Health Services
Release Date:
Tuesday, 12 May 2020 - 2:43pm



TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2020


International Nurses Day is celebrated each year on May 12 in remembrance of the birthday of Florence Nightingale. This year 2020 culminates the 200th anniversary of her birth. Many countries around the world celebrate Nurses Week on this date to highlight the varied and important work of nurses in providing healthcare to nations. It is also seen as a time to grow the profession through recognition and rejuvenation of the work force. I proudly acclaim NURSING as a viable and noble profession of service.

This year the international theme: NURSES: A VOICE TO LEAD - NURSING THE WORLD TO HEALTH was chosen to coincide with the designation of 2020 as the international year of the nurse and the midwife. Across the globe many organisations, professional associations, health care systems and other entities were poised to affirm this theme and celebrate the many roles and contributions of nurses in advancing the health and welfare of people in every nation. The BVI was no different in this regard.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) selected the theme -- Nurses Make a Difference -- in order to reflect on the difference that nurses have made and continue to make in stressful and critical circumstances.

Today as the focus has been shifted from the Year of the Nurse celebrations, the global pandemic quickly highlighted the importance of nurses and their contribution to health in fighting this epidemic. Now more than ever we must support and recognise nurses who work with courage and compassion and under extremely challenging circumstances.

From providing direct care to affected hospitalised patients to leading full scale public health operations, nurses are front and centre, working around the clock to protect the health and well-being of patients and the public at large. While public health nurses have traditionally been recognised for their efforts during times of a public health crisis, now nurses in acute care settings are applying evidence-informed public health principles to prevent disease and care for some of the world’s sickest hospitalised patients. Today’s nurses are leading response teams demonstrating skills and expertise in areas such as emergency operations, governance and hospital, and field operations, to name a few.

Nurses must be commended for their unfailing commitment to act in fighting this and all other health crises and to protect our patients and communities.

Ordinarily the Week would be filled with many activities including recognition dinners, church services and concerts. This year amid the challenges and social restructuring that the pandemic dictates, it is being celebrated differently.

We ask that you take a moment of reflection to honour the memory of nurses and health workers who have tragically died during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pause also to remember those of our own community, the trailblazers who are still with us, including, Nora Manns, Rita Frett Georges, Vesillee Mathavious, Ethel Spann, Calmelita Oneal,  Berenet Scatliffe, Jennifer Bertie,  Tatica Scatliffe and many others who have built a solid foundation on which we now stand. We ask that you use social media, art, song, poetry, or a simple phone call to thank them for their contributions.

Today, May 12th, in this time of COVID-19 and the uncertainties that it brings we again salute our nurses at the BVI Health Services Authority and the private sector on Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola and Virgin Gorda. Nurses are critical to any functioning society as they also work in administration, homecare, schools, senior homes and at prisons. We salute the leadership of nurses and their role in health teams and our health systems. In closing, as Minister for Health, I encourage young persons to see nursing as a viable and noble profession of service for them to pursue. You can be a part of the solution that you wish to see.

I thank you.