International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world annually on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year’s theme is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – A vision for future healthcare.
Annabel Milonas, Director Education – Nursing and Midwifery, said to celebrate the day, Northern Health is moving its focus outwards to its wider international community and showing support and unification for the nursing staff in Papua New Guinea (PNG) experiencing the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, by sending care packages.
“Throughout 2020 in Australia, while facing the COVID-19 pandemic and in Victoria especially, our nurses would like to acknowledge the dedication and hardship facing our colleagues within the Papua New Guinea region. Northern Health has a strong focus on community and are reaching out to our neighbours in support of their care provision during the pandemic,” she said.
Maria Tucker, Divisional Director, Nursing, Cancer Services and Specialist Clinics, who initiated the idea said: “I think it could be quite unifying and inspiring to support nurses in other countries who are doing it tough still while we have the luxury of an almost COVID-free country,” she said.
Debra Bourne, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer added: “This day is about the roles and impact our nurses had in shaping healthcare, and especially in response to COVID-19. We decided to donate the care packages so we can stand in solidarity with nurses in PNG. When we received some gifts in the beginning of last year, it meant a lot that others were thinking of us. Thank you for all staff who donated items in the packages. We now have around 500 packages to send.”
Our nursing leadership has also reflected on why it is important to celebrate today and how they chose this profession.
For Kirralee Jensen, Acting Director of Nursing Bundoora Centre, today is not only a day to recognise Florence Nightingale, but to also acknowledge and recognise the changes that have occurred in nursing since and how nursing has evolved, as well as to say thank you to all the nurses who work in a range of diverse roles.
“I think this year it is even more important to celebrate International Nurses Day given the challenges we have all faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nursing in a pandemic is probably something most of us would never have imagined we would have to do when we joined the profession. However, during the last 12 months, I have seen outstanding teamwork across all areas,” she said.
“I would like to wish all Northern Health nurses a Happy International Nurses Day and thank them for their dedication, empathy and care they provide each and every day to all of their patients.”
Grant Taylor, Director of Nursing Broadmeadows Hospital and Craigieburn Centre, said “this day marks a fantastic opportunity for all staff at Broadmeadows Hospital and Craigieburn Centre to recognise the amazing work that all nurses across both of these sites contribute day after day.”
“I personally would also like to take the opportunity to thank all nurses at Broadmeadows and Craigieburn for all of the hard work, commitment and spirit of togetherness that has been demonstrated throughout the past year, especially during the first and second wave of COVID-19,” he said.
For Lora Davies, Director of Nursing Epping, it is important to celebrate today to remember why we do what we do and why it is so important.
“I chose to be a nurse at a very young age, after requiring hospitalisation. As a six year old, l was frightened, alone and overwhelmed. I found myself under my bed, hiding in fear, the nurse looking after me crawled under the bed and saved me. From that moment on, that’s what l wanted to do with my life – help people when they were at their most vulnerable. And that is what nursing delivers every day, the reward that you can make a difference to people’s lives every day,” she said.