This year, the International Council of Nurses is honoring nurses as global game-changers who have the ability to lead the world’s healthcare community in recognizing the basic human right to health and wellbeing — something that Mercy Ships also feels passionately about.

At Mercy Ships, we are deeply grateful for the hundreds of nurses who volunteer their time and skills to serve people and communities who have little or no access to reliable healthcare. Without our nurses and their selfless attitudes and willingness to serve, thousands of people would never receive the quality, compassionate care they deserve.

For 40 years, our incredible volunteer nurses have played an indispensable role in ensuring that all of our patients are treated with dignity and compassion. All of our nurses pay their own way to be a part of Mercy Ships, and their hearts to serve those in need make an undeniable difference in the healing process for the patients.

When Ernest came to the Africa Mercy to receive free, safe surgery to remove his massive facial tumor, the volunteer nurses in the wards of our hospital ship helped him experience physical healing as well as emotional transformation.

Volunteer Nurse Kirsten Murphy monitored him the first night he was admitted, and witnessed the change in Ernest.

“I remember his persistence. I remember his new-found hope. I remember the huge grin that spread across his face post-surgery!”

Without our volunteer nurses, patients like Ernest would not experience the incredible transformation that hope and healing brings.

According to the International Council of Nurses, the current majority of health systems around the world are “mainly focused on disease rather than on as a person as a whole, whose body and mind are linked and who needs to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Nurses are essential in transforming this mentality to place emphasis on not only the physical health of patients, but on their overall wellbeing as a person who deserves love and respect. And at Mercy Ships, our nurses make it their priority to bring this compassionate, holistic approach to the way they care for the people we come to serve.

This International Nurses Day, we are thankful for the extraordinary men and women who volunteer as nurses with Mercy Ships. Thank you for your dedication and heart to see all people cared for and loved.