A speech by The Duchess of Cambridge at the Launch of the Nursing Now Campaign, St Thomas' Hospital, London

Published 27 February 2018

I would like to congratulate and thanks all nurses everywhere on what you achieve on a daily basis. The difference you make should not go unrecognised

First of all, I would like to say how pleased and honoured I am to be here today, at St Thomas’s Hospital, to launch 'Nursing Now' to help promote the vital work of nurses around the world.

This campaign means a lot to me personally.  My great-grandmother and grandmother were both volunteer nurses.  They would have learned first-hand from working with the Voluntary Aid Detachment and the Red Cross about the care and compassion that sometimes only nurses can provide. 

Decades on, nursing has come a long way and continues to play a significant role in all our lives. From what I have seen from visits to hospices and hospitals across the country, nurses are always there. You care for us from the earliest years. You look after us in our happiest and saddest times.  And, for many, you look after us and our families, at the end of our lives.

Your dedication and professionalism are awe-inspiring.  I have been struck today by the enormous range of responsibilities that nurses have, not only in providing access to healthcare, but also in terms of providing a holistic approach to caring for our physical and mental health. You also promote good health and disease prevention. 

In some parts of the world, nurses are perhaps the only qualified healthcare professionals in their communities, so your work is all the more vital. 

Sadly, however, many people still don’t have access to regular health care, and it is in this context that a global campaign to raise the profile and status of nursing worldwide is so important. 

I was surprised to learn that to keep pace with the rising global demand, the world will need an additional 9 million nurses by 2030.  In simple terms, that's about 2,000 more nurses every day for the next 12 years. This shows that we must act now to support and develop nurses with the skills and talent to cope with the future global health needs.  'Nursing Now' is a call to raise the profile of nursing internationally and to help grow the profession further so it can play a key role in meeting real health challenges across the world.

Finally, I would like to congratulate and thank all nurses everywhere on what you achieve on a daily basis. The difference you make should not go unrecognised.  I would also like to acknowledge the International Council of Nurses, the World Health Organisation and the Burdett Trust for Nursing, who are playing key roles in ensuring the future of the profession.

I am most grateful for you asking me here today to support the launch of this exciting new campaign. I do hope its work will go on to inspire the next generation of nurses for years to come.  

Good luck to you all.

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