International Nurses’ Day and International Midwives’ Day 2018
May 5th was International Midwives Day and Saturday May 12th is International Nurses’ Day. I hope all my nursing and midwifery colleagues take a little time to reflect on our professions and that people in the community recognise the good work done every single day, every single hour by a nurse or a midwife.
This year marks 30 years since I started my nurses training at the Royal Brisbane Hospital. Since finishing my course my nursing career has taken me in many directions – Bone Marrow transplant, intensive care, aged care, disability care, oncology, rehabilitation, travel nursing, medical wards, community health education and most recently as a volunteer in the World Wellness Group in Stones Corner.
It has been an exciting 30 years with change the ever present companion. I often ask myself “What does it mean to be a nurse?”
It is not about the technical skills, the clinical knowledge or the sometimes dramatic events of a work day that make for good TV.
It is about taking responsibility to care for another human being no matter what their situation.
Like all nurses and midwives I have cared for a diverse array of people. I have looked after US reserve bank governors, Danish Millionaires, a homeless woman, people who have tried and failed to kill themselves, initiated indigenous elders, children who have leukaemia, people who have committed terrible crimes and so many other people.
Like all nurses and midwives my calling doesn’t allow me to judge who I care for, just that I care.
Caring enough to want people to get better and not get sick again. Caring enough to try to stop people getting sick in the first place. Caring enough to be honest with someone and stay with them when there is no hope of recovery.
Nurses and midwives do this not because they are caring for family, friends or someone they know. Not because a nurse or midwife will gain anything personally beyond a wage. Our profession is the essence of all that is good about humanity, people caring deeply about other people, for no other reason than we know it is instinctively the right thing to do.
During this week of celebrations I started one day with a Yoga session and healthy breakfast session at the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union run by a nurse from a medical centre in Coorparoo. I’ve never really done Yoga before and it was nice to take time out to relax and look after my mental health. So many people in the caring professions give so much to others but they forget to care for themselves. Like all nurses there have been times when I’ve felt overwhelmed by the things I do at work. I am pleased that Nurses and Midwives can now reach out for help by calling the Nurse and Midwife Support Hotline on 1800 667 877.
I am really pleased of the Palaszczuk Government’s achievements for Nurses and Midwives:
• Restoring front-line services
• Re-establishing a full Graduate Nurse Program
• Safe Nurse/Midwife to Patient Ratios
• Creation of Nurse Navigators
• Implementation of Digital Hospitals
• Rebuilding preventative and population health services
These are all great outcomes for nurses and midwives but more importantly, they are great outcomes for the people we nurses care for.