In the lead up to International Nurses Day, the Australian College of Nursing talks to Jaya Thomas MACN, about how 2020 has indeed been Year of the Nurse & Midwife.
“It’s bizarre when you think about it – the Year of the Nurse & Midwife was an opportunity for us to put our profession in the spotlight and we didn’t even have to try. With everything that’s going on around us at the moment, nursing is already in the global spotlight. We are showing the world what nursing is just by doing what we do every day,” says Jaya, who works at Top End Health Services in the Northern Territory, which comes under NT Health.
Jaya, who is the Director of Clinical Learning and Education and Research at her facility, says a lot has changed this year but despite all the challenges and changes, nurses have displayed the same commitment to deliver care. “The courage shown by nurses to serve every patient that comes to them is outstanding and has been evident through this time,” she says.
It’s this spirit of commitment that Jaya says made her steer towards a career in nursing in the first place. “Interestingly, I never planned on being a nurse. I was studying to enter medicine, but somehow that didn’t work out and I decided to study nursing instead. Very quickly, though, I realised that the profession had chosen me. I completed my nursing degree in India, moved to Australia in 2008 and I haven’t looked back since.”
“There’s a lot of satisfaction when we see patients recover and go home – I think that kind of personal gratification would’ve been hard to find in any other type of work, at least for me.”
Within her own organisation, Jaya says the COVID-19 pandemic has given everyone a chance to push themselves out of their comfort zone. “We found that this situation lifted our capabilities and pushed us to try something new, it has been a great learning opportunity. As a result, we now have a really good online training product. The organisation and staff really started coming together to support each other too.”
As for International Nurses Day, a few things that they had planned to celebrate obviously stand cancelled, but as Jaya says, “We feel that we are already celebrating nurses every day, especially right now; there’s a lot of acknowledgement amongst us for the work we are doing together.”
She adds, “But perhaps once COVID-19 is behind us, we would like to have a proper celebration for nurses everywhere!”
In addition, Jaya thinks the occasion is a good opportunity for nurses to inspire younger generations to consider nursing as a career. “We need to show them that it’s a unique profession and try to be role models for them. And to do that, we just need to continue what we do best – deliver the best care we are capable of.”