International Nurses Day:Chief Nurse Viv Bennett CBE looks back at her Brookes training

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Nurses day

Today is International Nurses Day 2016, celebrated around the world every year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. It marks the vital contributions nurses make to society.

In January this year Oxford Brookes kicked off a year of celebrations to mark 125 years of nursing education in Oxford. A variety of events have already taken place so far, with more planned throughout the rest of the year, including open lectures.

Ahead of her open lecture at the University next week (Tuesday 17 May), Chief Nurse for Public Health England (PHE) Professor Viv Bennett CBE, an Honorary Graduate of Oxford Brookes, talks about her nursing experiences…

“I trained as a nurse and health visitor at the earlier versions of Oxford Brookes (Oxford School of Nursing and Oxford Polytechnic) and I have always been proud to say ‘I trained in Oxford’.

“In Oxford I learned the science and art of nursing and public health nursing-in part from my lecturers and books and in huge part from my patients, families and colleagues.

I trained as a nurse and health visitor at the earlier versions of Oxford Brookes (Oxford School of Nursing and Oxford Polytechnic) and I have always been proud to say ‘I trained in Oxford’. In Oxford I learned the science and art of nursing and public health nursing-in part from my lecturers and books and in huge part from my patients, families and colleagues.

Professor Viv Bennett CBE, Chief Nurse Public Health England

“I remember clearly as a student nursing an elderly man, a gentleman in every sense of the word, who taught me about the importance of ‘know my story-know me’ and of maintaining dignity. I remember a surgeon who gave me confidence and helped me to be competent in theatre, and a family with two children with disabilities and extreme social disadvantage who showed me the courage that families show in adversity.”

In Oxford I first became interested in public health and children’s services which has lasted throughout my career.”

Viv’s open lecture entitled The best start in life: for all our children and young people is on Tuesday 17 May at 6.00pm in the John Henry Brookes Lecture Theatre, Headington Campus.

In her lecture Viv will be looking at how healthcare professionals using their knowledge, skills and relationships are vital in supporting children, families and communities to enable children to thrive in childhood, become healthy young people and set down the foundations for the best possible health and life chances as adults. 

She will discuss how, in order to make the best start a reality for all our children, we need to share and build on good practice and address the inequalities that persist so that no child is left behind.

For more information about the University’s 125 years of nursing education celebrations or to find out more about studying nursing visit the Department of Nursing’s website.

Image: (left) Chief Nurse Professor Viv Bennett CBE and (right) Viv as a student nurse