12 May 2021
Today on International Nurses Day, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) thanked nurses for their professionalism and commitment to their communities.
This past year has been a reminder of nurses’ resilience, with many workplaces transformed to care for COVID-19 patients or their workforce redeployed to support the pandemic response.
Brenda is an enrolled nurse who moved from anaesthetic nurse duties to a COVID-19 screening and swabbing clinic, which she is still supporting 14 months later. She reflected on the challenges of the pandemic, including for older nurses and clinicians who were not able to be as hands on as they wanted to be as they were more vulnerable to the disease.
‘We all approached COVID with a lot of trepidation, that fear of not knowing what was coming and every aspect of our job changed. All of us had to be very adaptable,’ Brenda said.
‘We should be proud of stepping up and protecting our society. We have to give a shout out to the younger cohort of nurses who really stepped up.’
Samantha Blade is a nurse unit manager for St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne. While she is currently leading a vaccination clinic, last year her ward was transformed into a COVID-19 unit. She spoke about the personal toll the pandemic took and continues to take on nurses.
‘One of the huge things was the amount of deaths that we had to go through and help the families with. It was really hard not being able to have the families there to support patients. The isolation the nurses felt on the ward was also really difficult. They were completely cut off from everyone else.’
‘As a manager, it’s difficult to help them through and you don’t feel like you’re doing enough for them.’
‘I want to say thank you so much to everyone for their support and dedication through the pandemic – a time we have never seen before and hope we don’t see again,’ Ms Blade said.
NMBA Board Chair, Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey AM, today thanked nurses in Australia and those practising around the world.
‘Throughout a global crisis, nurses have upskilled, innovated, and put their patients and community first, some at great personal cost. They’ve done it with grace and professionalism,’ Adjunct Professor Casey said.
‘On behalf of the Board, I’d like to thank nurses and wish them a very happy International Nurses Day.’
Nurses can access free, independent and anonymous health support 24/7 from Nurse & Midwife Support on 1800 667 877 or at www.nmsupport.org.au