International Nurses’ Day is celebrated around the world each year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year in particular it’s an extra special occasion because not only does it fall during International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, it also marks the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth.
However I would like to celebrate the work of another very inspiring nurse that would have been proud of the bravery shown by the nurses risking their lives in the pandemic. Her name is Mary Secole. Mary Jane Grant later Secole, was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805. Her father was a Scottish soldier, and her mother a Jamaican. Mary learned her nursing skills from her mother, who kept a boarding house for invalid soldiers. Although technically ‘free’, being of mixed race, Mary and her family had few civil rights.
In 1854, Mary travelled to England again. She asked the War Office to be sent as an army nurse to the Crimea War. She was refused. Unwavering Mary funded her own trip to the Crimea where she established the British Hotel near Balaclava to provide food and comfortable quarters for sick and injured officers. She road out on to the battlefield, sometimes under fire, to nurse the wounded, and became known as ‘Mother Seacole’. Her reputation rivalled that of Florence Nightingale. Read ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands’ to find out what happened to her.
Mary showed immense bravery and selflessness in her dedication to help the sick, just as I think you will agree our nurses are in the time of Coronavius.
Advocacy Matters says thankyou to all our dedicated nurses.