As 2021 comes to a close, I want to thank and acknowledge the tremendous professionalism of Australia’s nurses and midwives.
Our nation, and the world, continues to battle the COVID pandemic.
It is health professionals like you who ensure all Australians continue to have access to safe, quality health care when and where they need it.
As the Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer I acknowledge that you have gone above and beyond what was expected of you.
You have all made an enormous contribution as highly trained health professionals but also as patient advocates, skilled service providers and care givers.
The role of nurses and midwives has never been more important. As the pandemic rolls on you continue to meet the healthcare needs of patients not affected by COVID, but still requiring our care – often with complex and chronic conditions.
Whether you are a nurse or midwife working in vaccination or respiratory clinics, primary care, hospitals, testing centres,
aged and disability care, or community settings, across metropolitan, regional or remote locations
– every single nurse and midwife in the country has been impacted by the pandemic, as have your families and friends.
You have adapted to change whether it be infection, prevention and control measures including the wearing of PPE.
You have managing patients and their families through difficult visitor restrictions and students have seen delayed clinical placements
COVID has impacted on the way care has been provided to women.
Midwives, you have continued to be flexible and maintain continuity and safety of services, during a life changing time for women and their families.
You adapted models of care to help expecting mums to adjust and prepare for birth in a COVID world.
But above all, you have continued to provide the support and care needed during this one in 100 year pandemic. Expectations were high and you delivered.
You have demonstrated resilience, flexibility, courage in uncertainty, and strength and commitment to provide quality care.
These attributes will continue to hold us in good stead for the future.
As nurses and midwives, we provide 24-hour care.
We wear many hats as clinicians, advocates, educators, researchers, health promoters and carers, communicators, leaders, supporters and collaborators.
I acknowledge the significant burden COVID continues to have on nurses and midwives, in our professional roles and all the other important roles and responsibilities we fulfil in our private lives
I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of the Melbourne emergency nurse who recently died from COVID. This loss is deeply tragic.
Her death demonstrates the continuing impact of Covid—how real the risks are and how significant the cost and sacrifice is for our nurses and midwives.
We all need to reach out because mental health challenges are inevitable at times like this, it is a strength to realise none of us are impenetrable and we all need to seek help.
As nurses and midwives, we can be stoic and forget to look after ourselves from time to time.
Moving into 2022, our priority must be to support each other to continue our vital work that all Australians rely on.
Thank you again for all that you do, I am humbled and proud of the work you have done and I look forward to working with you as we face the challenges ahead.