Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday conferred the Florence Nightingale medal on five Chinese nurses for their outstanding contributions to healthcare.
The nurses included Cering Namo, a Tibetan caring of lepers at a hospital in southwest China's Qinghai Province, Chen Haihua, who works at a Beijing hospital and was once awarded the UN peace medal, Ding Shuzhen, who kept working after being diagnosed with cancer, Nie Shujuan, who has been fighting hepatitis in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Luo Shaoxia from a Macao hospital.
Vice Premier Wu Yi expressed the hope that nurses around the country would learn from the five recipients and carry forward the Florence Ningtingale spirit.
She also encouraged the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) to play a bigger role in assisting the government and raising public awareness of the work of nurses.
RCSC president Peng Peiyun hoped all Chinese nurses and Red Cross workers would improve their professional standards and service.
Florence Nightingale, a British nurse during the Crimean War from 1854 to 1856, was regarded as the pioneer of the modern nursing.
The Nightingale Award was established by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1912 and is presented every two years. The Chinese Red Cross Society began to recommend candidates for the award in 1983.
Hu Jintao is the Honorary President of the RCSC.