By Lucy Osborn MACN (ENL)
This column, The Scrubs that Fit, is all about the highs and lows of being a junior nurse, from the perspective of an ACN Emerging Nurse Leader. The aim of these blog posts is to help ease the transition from university to grad years and beyond. Find Lucy on ACN’s neo and on Instagram @aussie_nurses.
The Australian College of Nursing’s (ACN) National Nurses Forum (NNF) brought cheers and tears. There were so many inspiring people and presentations that I could write about for hours, but I’m going to keep it short and sweet and just share some of my favorite moments.
- President’s Welcome
The night before the official start of the NNF, I was lucky enough to be invited to the President’s Welcome at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). This event included a private viewing on MONA, with a reception of food and drink.The Premier of Tasmania gave an insightful address, making an interesting comparison of the population of Tasmania to the nursing workforce across Australia. The event highlighted the calibre and strength that nurses in Australia represent, being a part of it was very humbling and a truly inspiring evening.Thank you to ACN President Professor Christine Duffield FACN for your invite.
- Reducing the Carbon Footprint – The Millennial Perspective Panel Discussion Session
This enlightening panel discussion — which focused on how nurses can better reduce their carbon footprint to create a more sustainable future — was without a doubt one of my highlights of the conference. The panel was chaired by ACN Chief Executive Officer Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN and included panel members Melinda Goode MACN, Nick Hayward MACN (Undergraduate), Catelyn Richards MACN, Luke Yokota MACN. I am so proud of my fellow millennial nurses for their insightful analysis of how our profession can reduce our environmental impact. One particularly interesting aspect of the conversation single-use syringes which are thrown out after only one use for common tasks like drawing up an intravenous antibiotic. For me, this emphasised the need for innovation and learning in the reusing recycling sector of health care. My thinking cap is certainly on and I hope to come up with some world changing ideas and I challenge you to do the same. If like me their discussion has inspired you, have a think about getting involved with the ACN Climate or Disaster Health Community of Interests (COI).
- Mitch McPherson’s Speech at the Gala Dinner
This year’s Gala Dinner was a wonderful event with the guest speaker Mitch McPherson, a Tasmanian local and founder of the Speak Up! Stay ChatTY foundation. This organisation aims to normalise conversations about mental health and spread the message that “it’s okay, to not be okay” and to seek help when they need it. Mitch spoke of about his life journey after losing his brother Ty to suicide. This was an extremely emotional presentation for everyone at the event with many of the attendees having their own personal stories, for myself I have felt the impact of suicide from my extended family and during my school years, being a classmate of Mitch’s brother Ty. The many tears throughout the audience were a tribute to those who have left us too soon and the strength and beauty of the work Mitch and his team are doing in Tasmania to normalise mental health is both sobering and inspiring. You can learn more about the incredible work Mitch does by visiting his website.
If you or someone you love needs help, please seek help. You can do so by talking to your loved ones or by reaching out to one of the many services around Australia which are listed at the bottom of this article.
- The Next Gen COI Concurrent Session
My final highlight was facilitating a two-hour workshop, titled ‘The Power of Policy’, with my Next Gen COI colleagues. I would like to give a huge shout out to my fellow Leadership Team members Ariela Rother MACN, Nick Hayward MACN and Andrea Jansen MACN. The aim of our workshop was to help ourselves and other early career nurses understand what policy is and how we can and should be influencing it. We were lucky to be joined by five amazing policy leaders – ACN’s very own policy manager Dr Carolyn Stapleton FACN, Rowena King MACN, Rebecca Howard, Melinda Goode MACN and Prachi Javalekar MACN. We were joined by a crowd of undergrads, early career nurses and some fantastic experienced nurses who all facilitated excellent discussion and ideas. It was so exciting to see the passion coming from the nurses throughout the room, with some even hoping to implement their groups idea’s in their own hospital. I am so proud to be part of this amazing team of next gen nurses and am so excited for the Early Career Nurse Day in Canberra, the day prior to the 2020 NNF.
In summary, the 2019 NNF was a huge success. I was so grateful to receive The Eric Murray Achiever Award and hope that I can and am doing Mr Eric Murray proud as I continue this incredible journey as an early career nurse.
If this article has raised any concerns for you, please contact one of the numbers below:
Lifeline Australia — 13 11 14
Kids Helpline — 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia — 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service — 1300 659 467
Beyondblue — 1300 224 636