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Honourable Senators, I rise to recognize our nurses during this year's National Nursing Week.

May 12 marks the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who set the standard for professional nurses. In her honour, we celebrate today as International Nurses Day and take a moment to consider the role of her successors, our selfless, dedicated and devoted nurses, who often go unthanked and unappreciated.

Ms. Nightingale fought public opinion of the day and went to the Crimean War. She and a team of nurses travelled to military hospitals in Turkey, where they found appalling conditions. Their interventions saved many lives and, more importantly, awakened the public to the idea of nursing as a life-saving profession.

Daily, nurses go beyond the call of duty, being there for those at their most vulnerable. In birth and in death nurses stand fast; they ease and guide us through these painful transitions.

From our birth until our death, nurses offer support, guide us, and help us with transitions through difficult times.

Today, the selfless hard work of nurses tends to go unnoticed. Nurses are dedicated and compassionate individuals who choose a demanding profession of long hours and unforgiving schedules, yet they approach their work with an enthusiasm unmatched by any profession.

 When Canadians are ill, often the first person they see is a nurse. Nurses watch over their patients during the long, lonely hours of the night, offering support through recovery, sometimes for months and years. They are there when you are born, and they are there when you die. Nurses are with our military on the front lines, and families are comforted to know that a nurse was with a loved one as he or she faced injury or death so far from home.

Our nurses serve in isolated communities where there are no hospitals or doctors. They are responsible for improving health care outcomes, reducing costs, advocating for patient safety, promoting knowledge and driving innovation and research. This year's slogan says it best: "Nursing, you can't live without it!"

We have 270,000 registered nurses in Canada, and every day they touch the lives of Canadians.

Please join me in celebrating this week and in celebrating the contributions of those devoted hardworking men and women.

I invite all Senators to join me in highlighting this special week and in celebrating the unparalleled commitment of these dedicated men and women.