Today, on International Nurses Day, we’re launching To Mind Your Life: Poems for Nurses and Midwives. A gift from the nursing and midwifery profession to its newest members, the pocket-sized book being given to 3000 nurses and midwives graduating in Scotland in 2021, 2022 and 2023. To Mind Your Life is endorsed by Michael Rosen, Emilia Clarke and Susan Boyle, and produced by the Scottish Poetry Library, the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS), the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), and the Medical and Dental Defence Union Scotland (MDDUS).
You can order a copy of To Mind Your Life here.
On graduation, newly qualified nurses and midwives will receive To Mind Your Life, a poetry anthology intended to provide them with support, comfort and inspiration during their first year in the job. At a time of unprecedented pressure on nurses and midwives, the global coronavirus pandemic has concentrated many pre-existing issues facing health professionals. The poems explore the meaning of nursing, midwifery and compassion in order to promote the newly qualified nurses and midwives’ self-care and wellbeing.
As editors Samuel Tongue, Dr Marti Balaam, Prof Clare Cable, Tasha Prigmore, Dr Jenny Paterson, Dr Kath MacDonald, and Prof John Gillies write in their introduction:
We believe that engaging with poetry gives us a place of emotional respite and release; it can gently comfort and encourage us and can resonate with many of the human experiences and dilemmas we all face. So carry this book in your pocket, keep it by your side, and let the voices of others inspire you.
The anthology is supported by many active in the health profession, literature and philanthropy. Michael Rosen, Children’s Laureate from 2007 to 2009, says: ‘You are heroes. I can say in all honesty, hand on heart, that the work of nurses, at some risk to themselves, has saved my life. And not just my life; the lives of tens of thousands of us. I’ll be forever grateful.’
Emilia Clarke, actor (Game of Thrones, Last Christmas) and founder of SameYou (for brain injury recovery) says, ‘It is vital that we show nurses and midwives the love and appreciation they deserve and I couldn’t think of a more beautiful offering than this collection of magic to remind them why they are integral to our collective lives. To every nurse and midwife in the world, we thank you.’
Susan Boyle, singer, says, ‘Beautifully curated words of wisdom for the true heroes of healthcare, our nurses and midwives.’
The aims of the anthology mirror those of the Scottish Poetry Library in using poetry to support health and wellbeing. The SPL’s Director Asif Khan said, ‘Through this pandemic, we have witnessed poetry’s growing popularity for expressing and sharing themes and inspiring words related to wellbeing and togetherness. By engaging with poetry in this way, we all can better nurture our resilience and develop our emotional intelligence. Recipients have welcomed the pocket-sized books gifted to graduating doctors, teachers, and now nurses and midwives. It is heartening that many of these professionals continue to use the poems in their day-to-day reflective practice, and also reading for pleasure.’
This anthology is co-published with Polygon as part of their ‘Pocket Poetry’ series along with Tools of the Trade: Poems for new Doctors and To Learn the Future: Poems for Teachers, all gifted to graduates in their respective professions each year.
If you are not a newly qualified nurse or midwife but would like a copy for yourself or perhaps to give to someone already established in that profession, copies will soon be available to buy from the Library in person or via our online shop.