Pictured: The ACN Sydney Region IND event with Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN as they tour the Nurses Walk in Sydney. Supplied
On May 12 as part of International Nurses Day (IND), the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) community came together to celebrate the nursing profession and call for greater support in the post-COVID recovery of Australia’s health care systems.
The 2022 International Council of Nurses theme was ‘A Voice to Lead: invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health’ and celebrations were spread across Australia, with over 700 groups registering for the annual ACN National Nurses Breakfast. Events were held in every state and territory, with breakfasts varying from relaxed and casual catch-ups the break room to discussions and debates on the future of nursing. Photos of celebrations were shared on social media with the hashtag #ACNBreakfast and nurses online shared their celebrations with one another, breaking down traditional domestic and international borders.
Stage One ACN Emerging Nurse Leader Jade Chen MACN and organiser of the University of the Sunshine Coast breakfast, shared how the experience help shape her professional identity and contribution to the community.
“It was great that I could share this joy with my fellow nursing students and my mentors at the nursing school, which brought me a stronger sense of belonging as a member of the international nurses’ family,” she said on Twitter.
Leading, laughing and learning as a region
ACN Region groups across the country used IND to showcase the role of the nursing in the greater community through charity leadership, channelling history and profession development. These events occurred across the country with nurses and their supporters gathering in Sydney, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart.
The Sydney Region started the day with a tour of the historic Nurses Walk in the Rocks area of Sydney, taking in the sights and history of colonial Australian nursing and infection control before heading back to a breakfast to share some kind words from ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN.
Pictured: Tasmania Chief Nurse Adjunct Professor Francine Douce MACN interviews Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Tasmania Health Services South Brent Foreman MACN at the ACN Tasmania Region IND Breakfast. Supplied
Community support was on the menu at Hobart as attendees brought bags for charity Orange Sky Australia and were joined by Tasmania Chief Nurse Adjunct Professor Francine Douce MACN as she discussed the future of nursing with the new Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Tasmania Health Services South Brent Foreman MACN.
The community spirit continued into the night as the Melbourne region hosted a CPD webinar on Refugee Health, showcasing experiences of refugees in Australia’s health care systems and how nurses can intervene in a culturally respectful way. The Melbourne Region took over @acn_tweet on Twitter to share the lessons from the webinar with the community, with others engaging through the #ACNRefugeeHealth tag on Twitter.
Advocating for the Nursing Profession
With IND occurring only a week before the Federal Election, ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN spent the day ensuring the issues impacting the profession were heard loud and clear. She conducted several radio interviews across the day reminding the public that tangible action is needed to address the workforce crisis facing the profession and it is not enough to just say ‘thanks’ to the nurses who have past years leading their communities through disasters, emergencies and a prolonged pandemic.
“Everything you need for health care, nurses will be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week no matter the postcode and we deserve recognition for the commitment that we make,” she told ABC Melbourne.
“I wake up and nurses have shared with me through the night what their shift was like. They’re working way understaffed and they just can’t come up for air. It is a pressure cooker and the moral injury that will come out of this of not being able to provide the care that they want to deliver plus the post-traumatic stress is something that we need to consider in the next few years.”
Adjunct Professor Ward continued to outline the need for a multi-pronged solution to the crisis and particularly focused on the importance of eliminating occupational violence against nurses and the need for their health and wellbeing to be a top priority for Governments. Her interviews included ABC Canberra with Lish Fejer ,The World Today with Sally Sara on ABC National Radio, ABC Melbourne with Jacinta Parsons and a podcast interview with Nursing Review.
Read more about ACN’s IND celebrations here.