An MSP has said this year’s International Nurses Day “has been the most poignant in recent history”.
Mental health minister Clare Haughey paid tribute to the thousands of frontline staff working during the coronavirus pandemic.
This year’s date also marks the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.
Ms Haughey said: “Each and every nurse across the health and social care sector has my very grateful thanks during these unprecedented times.
“In particular I want to pay special tribute to the health and social care staff – unfortunately, some of whom were nurses – who have died in the line of duty with coronavirus.
“Their sacrifice will not be forgotten. The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the skill, resilience, knowledge and ability required to be a nurse but above all shown the inherent desire to care for patients and their families in a compassionate, person-centred manner.”
She added: “Of course, these traits are embodied by nurses across the country every day of every year and this International Day of the Nurse is part of the first International Year of the Nurse and Midwife marking the bicentenary anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.
“It highlights the hard work, commitment and determination to care and support shown at all time by our nurses.”
In another tribute to Nightingale, seven temporary hospitals have been named after her and set up across England to help cope with the Covid-19 crisis.
A similar hospital in Glasgow was named after Louisa Jordan – a Scottish nurse who died in service during the First World War.
Scotland’s chief nursing officer, Professor Fiona McQueen, said she is “extremely proud” that the World Health Organisation has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has by far been the most demanding time since I started in post,” she said.
“It gives us a real opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work nurses and midwives do for the people of Scotland on a daily basis and to thank you all for your hard work and dedication at this unprecedented time.
“The pandemic has also shown why nursing and midwifery are fantastic careers for people, as well as demonstrating the skills, ability and knowledge required to provide such a high level of care.”
She added: “Without the selfless commitment of our nurses and midwives, so many people may not have survived Covid-19.
“I want to take this opportunity to remember all our nurses and midwives who have sadly passed away supporting the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Their dedication to caring, comforting and treating others, even under these extremely challenging and dangerous times, will never be forgotten.”
Meanwhile, singer Lewis Capaldi has sent a video message of support to a team of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde nurses, to mark International Day of the Nurse on May 12.
In the message, the Someone You Loved singer, who has a connection to the team, said: “Hello to all the Regional Services nurses, it’s Lewis Capaldi here and I just wanted to say Happy International Nurses’ Day. Thanks very much for all the work you do and hope you have a good day!”
Lead nurse Lynsay Creighton received the message as a surprise for all of the regional services nursing staff.
She said: “Due to the lockdown, we are not able to have the big party that was initially planned, however, this message is sure to boost morale.”