Nursing's Got Talent

In May every year, nurses round the world celebrate International Nurses Day. May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, whose legacy continues to inspire nurses everywhere. In 2015, as part of my Writer in Residence role at Kingston University, we decided to have fun with Flo, challenge the stereotypes, and celebrate nursing in all its gore and glory. Just remember, Nursing’s Got Talent!

My brilliant colleague, artist in residence Alban Low, ran an art exhibition called the Art of Caring featuring 252 artworks produced by 133 artists from far and wide ( This was shown at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, along with a cabaret-style event organized by the Nursing Society, the School of Nursing and my programme, The Word is Nursing.

We celebrated nursing around the world with poetry, fiction, live music and art, theatre, and expert speakers on the challenges of modern nursing. We linked by video with colleagues from different countries, who sent us greetings in many languages. I gave a talk on Florence’s Demons and chaired a discussion on Nurses in Fiction, with readings from prize-winning novelists Patricia Ferguson (a qualified nurses and midwife) and Louisa Young. Much of the talent on show was home-grown by Kingston. 

For a flavour of this event, here are some highlights:




Sketch of me by Alban Low, artist in residence at Kingston