Nurse in UK becomes first Filipino Nightingale Lamp Carrier

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 21) — For the first time ever, a Filipina nurse was selected to carry Florence Nightingale's symbolic lamp at the commemoration service in London, England honoring the founder of modern nursing.

It was a proud moment for Louie Horne when she took on the role as the Lamp Carrier during the annual service at St. Paul’s Cathedral on May 16 honoring Nightingale, who was also known as “The Lady with the Lamp” as she made her rounds at night tending to injured soldiers during the Crimean War.

“Iba ang feeling ‘pag nandoon ka na in the middle of the majestic St. Paul’s [with] 2,000-strong crowd. At yung crowd, hindi basta-basta, sila yung mga importanteng tao when it comes to healthcare, when it comes to nursing. I’m very proud na nataguyod ko yung araw na yun,” Horne told CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Weekend on Sunday.

[Translation: It’s a different feeling when you’re there in the middle of the majestic St. Paul's [with] a 2,000-strong crowd. And the crowd was not the usual, they are the important people when it comes to healthcare, when it comes to nursing. I'm very proud that I made it through that day.]

The Filipina-British nurse recalled becoming emotional when she was informed by the London-based charity Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) that she was chosen for the most important role during the service.

“Paulit-ulit ko binasa yung email kung ako ba talaga kasi marami rin namang magagaling na nurse dito [I had to read the email several times to see if it was really me because there are also many good nurses here]. It was a very proud moment na I'll be the first Filipino to do that important role,” she said.

According to FNF, the burning lamp is carried through the cathedral and placed on the altar to “represent the undying spirit of the service displayed by Florence Nightingale, demonstrated by nurses and midwives today.”

For Horne, being selected as this year's Lamp Carrier gave more recognition to Filipinos in the medical profession not only in the United Kingdom but also in other parts of the world.

“There are many great at nakaka-proud na nurses, 'di lang ako [It’s not just me]. It was great for me to represent all of them. 'Di lang kasi sa UK 'to [It’s not only in UK], it's all over Europe and all over the world. As you know, Florence Nightingale is English, she's British. So it's symbolic,” she said.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Horne claimed that more Filipino nurses in the UK are rising to leadership positions.

She urged her fellow Filipinos working in medicine to constantly strive to set an example for others and to support one another in doing the same.

“Piliin niyong maging role model at inspirasyon ng ibang mga Pilipino kasi 'yan ang makakatulong para lahat tayo mag-level up at lahat tayo makilala 'di lang sa Pilipinas, kundi sa buong mundo,” Horne said.

[Translation: Choose to be a role model and an inspiration to other Filipinos because that will help us all level up and be recognized not only in the Philippines, but all over the world.]

Horne was also among the Filipino nurses who got to meet the Royal Family in February.