International Nurses' Day 2020

12th May 2020

Black and white portrait of Florence Nightingale circa 1860

12 May is the International Day of the Nurse where people all over the world recognise the important role of nurses in their communities. On this day we also celebrate the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale is credited as being the founder of modern nursing and is recognised for her role in providing care for soldiers during the Crimean War (1853-1856). 

The Coronavirus pandemic is an important reminder of the vital role nurses play in delivering frontline treatment and care. At the Royal Hospital's Infirmary we spoke with Staff Nurse Beata Luniewska-Maizeroi about International Nurses Day and her experience nursing. 

Staff Nurse - Beata Luniewska-Maizeroi

When did you join the Royal Hospital Chelsea?

I have been a Staff Nurse at the Royal Hospital Chelsea for 6 years now.

How long have you been nursing for?

I have been a Nurse for 23 years. I started my nursing career in my native Poland and left as a Senior ICU Nurse. 

Do you have any highlights during your career?

There are several, mostly related to working in an Intensive Care Unit environment, assisting very ill patients in their recovery. It's always very emotional when patients are going home - it's a very rewarding job, as is working with the residents here at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Have you worked with veterans before and do you find it different to other care settings?

The Royal Hospital Chelsea has been my only experience with veterans. The difference between working here and other care settings is perhaps all the military celebrations, for example our annual "Founders Day" where all the residents wear their iconic scarlet uniforms. Also some of the little things, like how the Pensioners wear their regular uniform daily and their humour.

What are some of the challenges of your work?

I have to say the long hours. I work on the dementia ward, which has it's challenges. It's hard work and there are good days and bad days.

Can you tell us something about you? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love going for long walks, sometimes up to two and a half hours. I also love exercising; when I don't exercise I feel like something is missing. I try to go to the theater as often as I can and I'm an avid reader. I also enjoy crosswords and reading true crime stories.

The theme for International Nurses Day this year is ‘Nursing the world to health’ – do you have any thoughts on this given the current crisis?

Just to reiterate how important it is for us all to wash our hands and follow the current government advice. Additionally, my thoughts are with the health workers doing their utmost for each and everyone afflicted by this virus.

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View the archive

Brompton Cemetery Seed Sowing
Sowing wildflowers in memory of past Chelsea Pensioners

On 6 May, Chelsea Pensioners and members of the Royal Hospital’s grounds team joined representatives from the Royal Parks, the Royal Parks Guild and the Friends of Brompton Cemetery to sow a patch of wildflower seeds in Brompton Cemetery as part of the Battlefields and Butterflies initiative.

Chelsea Pensioner Centenarians
100 years old and still going strong

Recent research backs up the anecdote that Chelsea Pensioners not only live considerably longer than their peers outside (by over five years, on average), but that their lifetimes once they come to the Royal Hospital are extending, year on year. This strongly suggests that the care and community here contribute to greater longevity – as well as improving quality of life. 


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