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07 May 2018

Bristol nurse to be lady with the lamp for a day at prestigious service

A Bristol nurse will be the lady with the lamp for a day at a service at Westminster Abbey to celebrate nursing, midwifery and the life of Florence Nightingale.

Joanna Poole, deputy head of nursing for surgery at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, will be the lamp carrier at the Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service on Wednesday (9 May 2018).

It is a prestigious role for Joanna as the lamp is the international symbol of nursing in memory of Florence Nightingale who became known as 'The Lady with the Lamp' during her work in the Crimea, where she conducted her night rounds caring for wounded soldiers while holding a lantern.

Joanna, who qualified as a nurse 20 years ago, was chosen to carry the lamp after completing the Florence Nightingale Foundation emerging leaders scholarship.Joanna Poole

She said: "I feel incredibly privileged to be given the honour of carrying the lamp. It's something that will stay with me for the rest of my life."

Joanna will be escorted by student nurses and midwives from the University of Plymouth. When she arrives at the High Altar in Westminster Abbey, Joanna will hand the lamp to Florence Nightingale Foundation Scholar Valentine Chiguvare.  He will pass the Lamp to fellow foundation scholar Wendy Webb.  This represents the transmission of knowledge from one nurse to another and highlights the diversity of care given by nurses for the benefit of humanity.

Joanna said the scholarship she completed in December with the foundation led to the opportunity.

 "The whole scholarship journey was life changing from a professional and personal point of view and has given me opportunities like this," she said.

"It completely changed how I think and how I feel about being a nurse and gave me lots of clarity about how I would like my career to develop.

 "Being invited to attend the commemoration service and to carry the lamp is an incredible honour."

Joanna, 39, will be joined at the service by her husband Richard with whom she has three children, Isabella, 3; Charlotte, 8 and Olivia, 10.

Colleagues from UH Bristol including Carolyn Mills, chief nurse; Jamie Cargill, Teenage Cancer Trust nurse consultant and fellow foundation scholarship programme graduate; and matron Hayley Long will also be attending the service.

After qualifying as a nurse, much of Joanna's career has been in cancer services. She worked at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust for three years after qualifying, before moving to University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for eight years.

Joanna returned to Nottingham as regional lead nurse for teenagers and young adults with cancer before joining UH Bristol in January.

Find out more information about the Florence Nightingale Foundation here.