Tra parole e cura: the event with Rokia and Asia to celebrate International Nurses Day

International Nurses Day is celebrated worldwide on 12th May, the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing. ‘Let’s nourish health’ is the slogan chosen this year by the National Federation of Orders for Nursing Professions (FNOPI) for the Day.

On this occasion, Humanitas University organised the meeting “Tra parole e cura” (Between words and care) at its headquarters in Bergamo, under the sponsorship of OPI, Ordine Professioni Infermieristiche (Order of Nursing Professions). This was a special opportunity to meet two young women, Rokia and Asia Streparola, who have both studied nursing and have been inspired by it to write stories and poems. During the event, Rokia and Asia explained how their experience led them to use words to care for patients and strengthen their passion for writing. Because listening to people helps to fill voids and alleviate fears, and the relationship with the patient becomes part of the care.

Rokia, 25, is Italian of Moroccan origin and started writing at a very young age. At the age of 10, she won a competition with a short story and as she grew older, she started sharing her writings on Wattpad, the social reading network, reaching up to 9 million reads. “I was born prematurely and spent long periods in hospital as a child,” explains Rokia. I had a lot of free time and the nurses were very kind and brought me many books to read. Even then, I wrote short stories. This is how my two passions were born: nursing and writing’. To date, she has published three novels of which ‘Sindrome’ (Syndrome) is the latest to be released in 2023. It is a fairy tale novel where the characters are a witch, a prince, a dragon and a mermaid: four boys, Derek, Edgar, Olivia and Sia, who are familiar with pain and go in search of a way to heal. “During my hospital internships, I met people suffering from eating disorders and other mental illnesses, for whom the nurse is often seen as a conflicting figure because she has to ‘force’ them to be cured,’ Rokia explains. This experience then flowed into the novel ‘Sindrome’, and many people who read it wrote to me saying that they found themselves in my words. – She continues: ‘Writing can be a way of caring for a person, just as a nurse does. With my books, which also talk about mental illness, I send a message to people who experience these difficulties, to tell them “you are not alone”.

Asia Streparola, 22 years old, was born near Cremona and attends the nursing degree course in Pieve Emanuele. ‘Kintsugi’ is her first collection of prose-poems and words. The title is emblematic. In fact, the term refers to a 15th-century Japanese restoration technique for ceramic objects that consists of filling cracks caused by accidental breakage with Uruschi, a resin mixed with rice flour and gold. The repair is visible but made more precious by the gold lines along the fractures. As if to signify rebirth after an illness. “I have been writing since I was little, but the change came when I stopped writing for others and started writing for me. And that is when my poems were born, which have helped me a lot in some difficult moments. – says Asia – I think writing is very connected to the nursing profession, because it is an extraordinary healing tool. – She continues – When I face difficult moments in my studies, writing helps me a lot to metabolise what I experience. This can also be the case for patients going through an illness”.

The meeting was an opportunity to talk about the profession and the role of the nurse, an important figure not only in terms of care, but also in being close to people and taking the time to listen and talk to them. Because when it comes to caring, words count, and a lot.


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.