Almost 200 years ago, on May 12, 1820, Florence Nightingale was born. With her innovative nursing ideas and a beautiful mind that drove reforms which still exist in one form or another today, Florence’s name is synonymous with modern nursing. This is why her birthday was chosen to hold International Nurses Day each year – a day to celebrate and honour today’s nurses and the work that they do.
For International Nurses Day 2016, the theme ‘A Force For Change: Improving Health Systems’ Resilience’ has been chosen. To find out what International Nurses Day really means to these tireless workers, we at Ochre Recruitment took the time to speak with three nurses in different locations across Australia, about how they see modern nursing today.
Meet the nurses!
Jan McKelvey is a National Quality Nurse Manager for Ochre Health. She’s joined by Anne Redmayne of the Australian Capital Territory, and Nicole Carlyon of Boggabri Medical Centre, NSW. Here is what they had to say.
The theme for this year’s International Nurses Day can be interpreted many different ways. How do our nurses see it, especially when considering how much nursing methods have changed over the years?
“In primary healthcare, there are changes that happen so regularly. Nurses need to be on top of it all – whether it’s something small within the practice, or the wider community,” says Jan.
“We’re at the forefront of receiving all of these changes and delivering them to our patients.”
Further to this, Anne believes that it’s up to nurses to ensure that new changes as to how primary healthcare work are seamlessly integrated into the established system.
“All of these improvements impact on our day-to-day work, and we’re at the forefront of receiving all of those changes and delivering them to our patients,” she says.
Celebrating ‘The Lady with the Lamp’
When Florence was in her pomp, the changes that she brought to modern nursing were groundbreaking for their time, to such a level that many of her innovations are still in place today. Though technology and nursing methods have become more advanced in the century or so since her death, her revolutionary ideas remain iconic in nursing today. How does International Nurses Day recognise her work?
“We have developed so much of what she started, but her basic principles are still valid today. Yes, things have evolved and technology has improved things – medications, dressings – but even though times have moved on, we still come back to those core principles of nursing – the basis of everything is our patients,” says Nicole.
Over a century of change
Nurses play a hugely important part in the health industry on a broad range of levels. Their role has increased dramatically since Florence’s day, but what do Jan, Anne and Nicole think about nursing as a whole in 2016?
“We are pretty specialised, so we have a lot of things to look after that are ongoing – wound management, immunisation, asthma and diabetes care. Nurses are highly skilled in such things, and often lead the way in primary care. We now stand and work alongside doctors, rather than underneath them, and are now recognised by society as a valuable, professional healthcare workers,” remarks Anne.
“Because nurses now have a broader base of knowledge, we are no longer simply seen as someone there to clean up after the doctor. We have the ability to be professionally functional within the tough environment in which we work,” agrees Jan.
“We now stand and work alongside doctors, rather than underneath them, and are now recognised by society as a valuable, professional healthcare workers."
A link to the future
Imagine Florence Nightingale visiting a modern hospital in 2016. She would be astonished at how far things have come since her day, and new methods and innovations are occurring in the medical sector all the time. What further changes do our nurses think will happen over the next few years?
“Preventative health is a big thing – there’s a lot of focus on that right now. Chronic disease management and other measures are being pushed a little bit more, which will be beneficial for everyone,” says Nicole.
“I’m hoping to see more pure nurse leadership,” mentions Anne. “I’d like to see nurses gain more control, whether that means extra responsibility in chronic disease control as Nicole says, or something similar, that would be an exciting way forward.”
At Ochre Recruitment, we hope that nurses all around the world take the time to celebrate their important profession on May 12 – we certainly will be!