For International Nurses Day today, a new film has been released that pays tribute to the work that nurses do caring for patients and their families.

'Real Heroes' was created for the vocation's professional body in the UK – the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) – by Loughborough-based Affixxius Films and features nurses from Circle Nottingham, the UK's largest treatment centre.

The film concentrates on the positive impact that nurses have on service users (which is a horrible-sounding phrase, but is shorthand for everyone they need to give treatment, information and support to including patients, parents, relatives and other caregivers).

It shows a child visiting a patient in hospital. She wanders off with a superhero comic and discovers nurses performing tasks similar to those in her comic – helping children, using X-ray vision (ok X-rays) – showing that the nurses are just as much heroes as the characters in her comic. (It’s a metaphor – so you can ignore the patient confidentiality issues around a visitor looking at a patient’s X-ray over a nurse’s shoulder, or dignity issues about watching someone having CPR done to them).

It’s a uplifting, positive portrayal of nursing that concentrate on what nursing should be about despite the major challenges facing the profession. These include a growing staffing crisis, which is related to other issues including the government’s removal of bursaries for student nurses, an expected drop in recruitment from the EU due to Brexit, a 1% pay rise cap, and much larger patient numbers (in part due to cuts made to social and mental health care). Then there’s the impact of privatisation and overall funding cuts to the NHS. And of course, the small matter of working under a health secretary who’s managed to make himself even more despised than his widely-loathed predecessor.

That nurses can still deliver the level of care that they do in the face of this is another reason that they should be considered heroes.

International Nurses Day is held on May 12 – the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.