This morning the offices of the Australian College of Nursing opened following our scheduled Christmas-New Year shut down.The end of last decade and the beginning of 2020 has seen our country ravished with horrendous bushfires and extreme heat where at least 23 people have lost their lives, more than six million hectares of land has been burnt and hundreds of homes destroyed. We have lost over 500 million wildlife and there are grave concerns that vulnerable indigenous flora and fauna may become extinct. I have waited to hear of my own family and friends who have had to evacuate or been preparing to and it is distressing. I know I am not alone.
Amongst this horrific start to the new year I have witnessed community spirit and generosity in abundance. Our firefighters, volunteers and 000 services have been heroic and relentless in their determination to contain this disaster, where people have been stranded without electricity, water and food as well as those who have lost entire homes and businesses. I know there will be many nurses fighting for their homes and communities as well as caring for those in need. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been tremendous in their efforts and the reservists have now been deployed to assist. The ADF assistance has included medical teams and our military nurses have been pivotal in assisting communities.
Amidst this horrendous time for many are the remarkable stories of human kindness and courage and our ability as Australians to help each other. It is not good to feel helpless as others suffer and it can be overwhelming. Please keep us informed of what is happening in your local community or service and we can share your stories and information with other nurses around the country so we all know what is happening and how we are coping. Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything we can do for you. This is our College, we are a community and if someone is in need, or needs to share, let us know so we can help.
My thoughts and prayers are with all families throughout Australia.
Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN