International Nurses Day 2021
“On the 12 May each year we celebrate International Nurses Day. This date was chosen because the founder of modern-day nursing, Florence Nightingale, was born on this day in 1820. Nurses, as much as the other professions and roles in our Organisation recognise that Aged Care is a team game, once a year however, we get the chance to consider our Nurses specifically!
Last year, 2020, saw the celebration of 200 years since Florence’s birth, and while it was becoming pretty obvious by May last year that it was going to be a 201st year that healthcare and nursing was never going to forget, I don’t think even then we fully understood just how devastating the COVID-19 pandemic was going to become. Nursing Colleagues in Italy, Spain, France, UK, Brazil, USA and more recently India, are dealing with or have had to deal with a form and intensity of nursing that has stretched them to the limit.
We were not completely immune in Australia, Victoria’s outbreak in July, August and September 2020 accounted for 820 of the current total of 910 deaths in our nation. Many of those deaths being amongst older Australians living in Aged Care Facilities. In fact, 631 of that 820 were residents in Aged Care Facilities. As you likely know, Bethanie assisted with that response, by sending a team of specialised nurses and care workers to Melbourne, where they cared admirably for residents in a residential aged care home experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak.
As at 31 January 2021, 2710 nurses across 59 countries have lost their lives to COVID-19, the vast majority contracting the virus in the execution of their job.
The figures above put the role of nursing in Aged Care in sharp perspective, and Bethanie’s mission - “To demonstrate the Love of God by positively changing the way Australians experience ageing - every customer, every family, every community, every day” - right at the forefront of how our teams have performed over the last year. Keeping our consumers safe, connected, informed and healthy, but still producing daily opportunities for those in our care to experience fulfillment is nothing short of a triumph and a leading example of this year’s IND theme – “Nurses, A voice to lead”.
We have been fortunate in Western Australia, and for many months, the State was free of COVID-19, and since then we have experienced only sporadic community transmission. However, that does not mean that our nurses have not had to “nurse differently”. Whether RN or EN or NP, Residential or Community, there has been the need to learn strict protocols for donning and doffing PPE, treating every cough and sneeze as suspicious, understanding the benefits of an N95 mask and if there is one thing that we all know today that we didn’t know early last year, it’s our average body temperature!
Bethanie is extremely appreciative of its Nursing teams, we know that working in Aged Care right now is a challenge. The pandemic, the Royal Commission in to Aged Care, the introduction of the Aged Care Standards in July 2019 (only 8 months before the pandemic) and the increasing acuity and complexity of our consumer’s care has meant that there has been the need for nurses to adapt quickly and purposefully to these changes.
To all of our nurses - thank you!
Your commitment to those you look after is acknowledged, your passion for the profession is recognised and your willingness to embrace change is respected. On this International Nurses Day in particular, we celebrate your perseverance and being a voice that has helped lead the Organisation through a tumultuous 12 months.”
Words by Dave Ramsay - General Manager Clinical Care and Services