The vital role of nursing

A tribute on International Nurses Day

12 May 2024

Nursing is not just a profession; it’s a commitment to care for others every day. To mark International Nurses Day today, Paul Larrisey, Acting Chief Nurse at NHS South East London ICB, reflects on the unique journey and profound impact of nursing in our healthcare system and communities.

“Nursing is a special job,” says Paul. “It is unique in terms of the interpersonal relationship formed with individuals; it’s a reciprocal relationship.”

Paul entered nursing just after his 18th birthday. Reflecting on his journey, he recalls, “One year earlier, I had a road accident and spent several weeks in the hospital, where I was exposed to the important work of nurses and how they supported my recovery.”

With 38 years of experience, Paul has also worked in palliative care. He remembers, “Nursing a young woman in her 20s who was sadly dying. She and her partner had planned to get married, so we arranged a special wedding on the ward. Two days later, she passed away. It was a tough time, but also heartwarming to be part of that experience.”

In south east London, nurses do an amazing job. “What I’m most proud of,” says Paul, “is that nurses here provide care and support 24/7, 365 days a year, across our communities. It’s truly amazing. International Nurses Day is a crucial day for us to highlight and showcase the important work and contribution that nurses make at a local level and towards society at large. I hope you enjoy it.”