International Nurses Day - 12 May

According to the Australian College of Nurses, The International Day of Nurses will be celebrated by all nurses having a self-care breakfast. Now that is a rather modest indulgence, considering everything that has been going on of late. 

On a more solemn note, on this day there will be an official "moment of reflection to honour the memory of nurses and health workers who have tragically died during the pandemic." This is endorsed by the World Health Organisation.

Coincidentally, the year 2020 has been designated the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. To "acknowledge the extraordinary role nurses are playing in the fight against COVID-19, Australian College of Nurse is creating a Virtual Inspiration Wall consisting of positive stories. Give a shout-out to acknowledge an inspirational nurse!”

This is probably the biggest year ever for nurses, especially in countries that have had high rates of COVID-19 infections. The British Prime Minister casually dropped the names of the two intensive care unit nurses who looked after him while he was at death’s door recently. One from New Zealand and one from Portugal as luck would have it, but that just shows how small the global village has become.

We’d need to go back to World War II to find such a demanding time for nurses. But the veterans haven’t forgotten. Captain- now Corporal- Tom Moore of the (British) Royal Air Force who spent the lead up to his hundredth birthday on a mission to raise a thousand pounds for the National Health Service, only to finish up raising 15.5 million pounds by the deadline. Naturally when he completed the 100th lap of his garden early, on 16 April 2020, he did what any 99-year-old would do: Kept going.

The Australian College of Nurses is the lead organisation of the partnership organising the "Nursing Now" campaign. Its objective is to raise the status and profile of nursing around the world. The "Nightingale Challenge" (named after Florence Nightingale who revolutionised the profession of nursing during the 1800s) aims to benefit at least 20,000 young nurses and midwives through leadership development and training.

Spare a thought, too, for Aged Care nurses as well. The care of elderly people has largely been moved from individual family homes into large Aged Care facilities. The advantage of this is the ready availability of expert care. The disadvantage with a concentration of frail aged people is the possibility of outbreaks of infection, especially in the "flu" season. This can lead to high levels of stress among a workforce that is not lavishly paid.

By Warren Heggarty, Panorama Magazine

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