Amid the turbulence surrounding the NHS, it can be easy to lose sight of the amazing work going on within. Nurses' Day, which takes place every year on 12th May, is an opportunity to celebrate nursing staff around the world and the incredible job they do.
Nurses' efforts to care for their patients are nothing short of heroic, which is why the RCN's theme for Nurses' Day this year is #nurseheroes. Tackling disease, saving lives and coping with acute pressure each and every day, nursing staff are the heroes of the health service and we've been calling on people to name the nurses who've made a difference to them at some point in their lives.
Tales of superhuman strength, commitment and compassion have come in from far and wide. What we've found is that it's not the moments of great drama that people remember as much as the quiet moments of support, the kind words that help them to be brave.
John Haxby got in touch to thank the nurses who cared for his daughter when she fell life-threateningly ill while pregnant with her daughter.
"No words can sum up the thanks we have for the nurses at Scarborough Intensive Care Unit," he wrote.
"Their skill, compassion and dedication brought Emma and Ellie back to us and guided us through the most difficult period of our lives."
Richard Mulvany also shared his gratitude. He said: "What would we, the public, do without you wonderful people? All nurses are just marvellous and we are blessed to have you."
Al Simpson described the support he received during his father's last days. He said: "The care and compassion shown by the nursing staff has helped us all come to terms with his passing. There were no 'if onlys' - Dad received outstanding care and everything was done to keep him alive."
Nurses themselves have also been sharing their nursing role models and #nurseheroes.
James Simpson wrote to us about his nursing mentor, Lynn. He said: "The best advice Lynn ever gave me was that in nursing you're never alone - there is always someone there for help and advice. I don't have a someone, I have a Lynn, and she is my inspiration."
Kirsten Forster-Alexander was inspired to become a nurse by her Godmother, Rose. She said: "Rose committed her life to nursing. She drove ambulances in World War Two and spent time nursing in Africa. I have been a nurse for 33 years and during this time I have often remembered Auntie Rose and tried to make her proud of me."
An especially touching story came from a nurse called Julie who found a hero in her friend Rona. Rona was diagnosed with terminal cancer during her nursing training but was determined to continue on and gain her degree.
Julie said: "Sadly, her graduation ceremony came after Rona had left us, but her husband and children were invited to the ceremony and received her award on her behalf. I was just finishing my course at college so that I could get into university. If it wasn't for Rona pushing me to study, maybe I would never have got around to pursuing my dream."
We've heard countless examples of the heroic work done by nurses each and every day of the year, guiding patients and their families through what are often the hardest times of their lives. It takes someone really special to do this job. Nursing staff themselves don't claim to be heroes so it's only right that today we celebrate the work they do both here in the UK and around the world.
To share the story of your #nurseheroes head to social media or visit https://www.rcn.org.uk/nurses-day/who-is-your-nurse-hero.