In 2012 I had the honour of being appointed Chairman of the Gibraltar Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors' Registration Board. This is a statutory body, tasked to keep the register of persons entitled to practice the nursing, midwifery and health visiting professions in Gibraltar, as well as to regulate observance of the Code of Conduct.

Over the past 8 years, I have learned a lot about what it takes to be a good nurse, midwife and health visitor. I have been able to see up close the pride that these professionals take in their job, and the selflessness with which they care for our elderly, our sick, our infirm.

I have also seen the passion with which our registrants uphold their values and skills. Believe you me, no one comes down harder on a recalcitrant nurse than another nurse! For our registrants, it is important that everyone pulls their weight, keeps their skills honed, keeps learning, keeps improving.

Regrettably, I have also seen our registrants face disdain, disrespect and abuse. From patients, families and, yes, other healthcare professionals. Their ability to rise above this all and continue with their care is remarkable.

International Nurses Day is celebrated on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birthday. This year is a particularly special one, as it commemorates the 200th anniversary of the birth of the world's most famous nurse. For the reasons we are all too aware of, the celebrations this year will be subdued. But for those same reasons, this year's celebrations will be the most poignant and well-deserved ever.

As Gibraltar prepares to embark on the next phase of its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, spare a thought for those brave warriors who have stepped up to the occasion, and who will continue to deliver selfless, heroic work during the most testing of times.

So, whatever your profession, please make sure you wish all our nurses a Happy International Nurses Day.