Earl and Countess of Wessex celebrate International Nurses Day

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have paid a visit to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey today, to mark International Nurses Day.

More than 40 nursing staff from across the Trust were thanked by Edward and Sophie for their relentless hard work during the challenges of the pandemic.

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The royal couple visited the hospital’s new wellbeing garden, which is currently part of a refurbishment project to upgrade staff rest areas and facilities with the generous donations from local people, NHS Charities Together and Captain Sir Tom Moore’s fund.

There were nurses in the new garden to celebrate this year’s International Nurses Day when the Earl and Countess arrived in the morning.

the earl and countess of wessex stand next to a stone plinth reading 'tomorrow will be a good day', the saying of captain tom moore. edward and sophie stand on the right, wearing a tweed jacket and grey long coat respectively, as they chat to two nurses in uniform

The Earl and Countess of Wessex paid a visit to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey to celebrate International Nurses Day. (@RoyalFamily/Twitter)

The visit saw the couple seeing some of the hospital’s newly refurbished staff rooms, which was hosting a tea and cake celebration with nurses in the Post Graduate Education Centre. Many of the nurses invited to the event had been nominated by their colleagues for their outstanding work during the pandemic.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex took the time to speak to nurses at Frimley Health’s Wexham Park Hospital via a live video link. More than 20 nurses from the hospital’s intensive care unit, emergency department, paediatrics and infection control team were on the video call.

This is also the location of both of the couple’s children’s births, in 2003 and 2007 respectively.

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Prince Edward heard about the challenges the nurses have faced during the pandemic. (IMAGE: Royal/Family/Twitter).

Speaking about the Royals visiting the hospital, Lorna Wilkinson, chief of nursing and midwifery said: “It is an honour to have The Earl and Countess of Wessex visit Frimley Park Hospital and pay tribute to the work of our nurses across the Trust. I am extremely proud of what our nurses have achieved and the commitment and the dedication they have shown to patients during the pandemic.”

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“While our nursing staff have faced unprecedented pressures this year, many of the challenges have actually led to positive changes that will be reflected in our work in the future. Innovation has almost been an inevitable consequence of the pandemic, we have had to innovate to ensure the same level of excellent care is given to our patients.”


The Countess of Wessex was able to join nurses from the hospital in the newly refurbished gardens. (IMAGE: Royal/Family/Twitter).

Among the nurses who spoke to the Wessexes was Diane Dodsworth, MBE, who leads the critical care nursing staff across the trust’s sites and Tracey Coulson, Lead Nurse of the vaccination programme.

Coulson said: “It was a real privilege to meet the Earl and Countess, they were very interested to know how we have all coped during the pandemic and were extremely thankful to all of our nurses for the challenges they have faced.”

Diane Dodsworth said: “Our work during the past year has been a true team effort so while we feel lucky to have met the royal couple in person, we will also be passing on those thanks to every single one of our nursing colleagues.”

There was a sweet treat in store too, as it appears the Royals brought NHS cupcakes with them.

International Nurses Day is an annual celebration which acknowledges and celebrates the commitment and bravery of nurses around the world. It is celebrated on 12th May every year, coinciding with the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.

This year’s International Nurses’ Day places a focus on innovation and exploring what nursing may look like in the coming years. The campaign is titled: ‘A Voice to Lead – A vision for future’,  which is looking at what it means to be a nurse and how innovations will ultimately shape the future of healthcare.

Earlier this year, The Countess of Wessex begun working as a volunteer for St John’s Ambulance at a vaccination centre in London, to help roll out the UK’s jab programme. Her job as a volunteer is to provide patients with information regarding the vaccination, take them through the vaccination process, and to offer reassurance if it is needed.

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Members of the Royal Family have supported the nurses and frontline workers throughout the pandemic, often hearing about the struggles they faced and how the pandemic has affected their mental health. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have visited a number of vaccination centres, including Finsbury Park Mosque, Wembley and Croydon.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have spoken to a number of healthcare workers, including carrying out an engagement to celebrate International Day of the Midwife 2021 as well as paying their respects to a nurse in Norfolk who sadly passed away due to COVID-19.

The Princess Royal recently visited three hospitals in Gloucestershire where she opened a garden to commemorate the lives lost to coronavirus.

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