8 May 2020

International Nurses Day on RNZ Concert

From Upbeat, 2:47 pm on 8 May 2020

This International Nurses Day, RNZ Concert is celebrating nurses by playing music that restores and rejuvenates them. We’ll be sharing stories and music from our frontline heroes throughout the day, on 12 May.

Video tributes to these brave professionals have gone viral since lockdown – including a musical one from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

Music can bring much-needed relief to frontline staff. Nurse Abbey Vanderschantz works in the operating theatres at Wellington hospital and has been missing the regular live performances in the hospital foyer.

“I look forward to the return of performers in the hospital foyer as it has been awfully quiet during this time (of Covid-19) without them. They help to create an atmosphere of relaxation, which allows me to momentarily forget I’m in such a busy, hectic place.”

Nurse Abbey Vanderschantz (left) and colleague dressed in PPE

Nurse Abbey Vanderschantz (left) and colleague dressed in PPE Photo: supplied

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale Photo: Public Domain


International Nurses Day is held on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth and 2020 is her bicentenary. Florence Nightingale is celebrated as the founder of the modern nursing profession.

Her influential guide ‘Notes on Nursing: What it is, and what it isn’t’, published in 1860, includes some observations on the capacity for music to heal. Turns out she had no faith in the pianoforte’s suitability to soothe the sick.

“I will only remark here, that wind instruments, including the human voice, and stringed instruments, capable of continuous sound, have generally a beneficent effect–while the pianoforte, with such instruments as have no continuity of sound, has just the reverse.

The finest pianoforte playing will damage the sick, while an air, like "Home, sweet home," or "Assisa a piè d'un salice," on the most ordinary grinding organ, will sensibly soothe them–and this quite independent of association.”

May 12th is International Nurses Day, and we will celebrate it with your music and stories on the radio thoughout the day. Pianoforte, percussion or even pan flute, if you’re a nurse tell us about the classical music that relaxes or restores you and why. Email us concert@rnz.co.nz