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Marking a special occasion

Special day: Nurses Deepti Khurana, Sangeeta Gosai, Pauline Jones and Melissa Seelenmeyer celebrate International Nurses Day with the help of REDHS wellbeing dog Poppy. Photo by Steve Huntley

One important positive to come from the COVID-19 pandemic has been the community’s heightened awareness of, and universal appreciation for, nurses.

It’s hard to imagine where Australia might have been over the past three years without the dedication, resilience and can-do attitude of nurses.

International Nurses Day is celebrated each year on May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.

The event was established in 1974 by the International Council of Nurses to highlight the important role nurses fulfil in healthcare.

At Rochester and Elmore District Health Service, the nursing staff are valued and respected every day, but especially on May 12 when the world stands united to acknowledge and thank its healthcare heroes.

The REDHS nursing staff started the day with a celebratory pancake breakfast where chief executive Karen Laing and newly appointed director of clinical services Darren Clark were in charge of the kitchen.

The remainder of the REDHS team joined in, sharing a pancake (or two) and thanking their nursing colleagues for their support in providing care to patients and residents.

Mr Clark said the pancake breakfast was “a fantastic way to celebrate nurses”, and was “extremely well-attended”.

“Nursing is an extremely challenging yet rewarding occupation. Our nursing staff have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, they’ve worked long hours and they’ve been covered from head to toe in personal protective equipment, while doing so.

“This day gives people the opportunity to think about and express gratitude to all nurses, whether from a metropolitan city or from a smaller, rural community — like our own.”

REDHS communications officer Tanya McDermott said International Nurses Day also gave people outside of healthcare an insight into the diverse roles and pathways that were available through a career in nursing.

“It reinforces the general understanding of which health services are available to the community and gives an insight into which pathways are on offer through taking up a career in nursing,” she said.

REDHS employs over 200 staff. Nearly 30 per cent are registered and enrolled nurses who work across a variety of areas including aged care, acute ward, urgent care, district nursing, infection control and education.

A number of staff are being supported by REDHS to undertake training and are well on the road to joining the nursing workforce too.

REDHS is also a teaching hospital, providing clinical placements for nursing students undertaking tertiary studies and graduate places for nurses who have completed their university education.