Today is International Nurses Day and Defence is celebrating the extraordinary efforts of its nursing workforce, both serving and civilian.
International Nurses Day is marked annually on May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.
Head of Profession in Navy Nursing, Commander Nathan Saunders, said military service was the ultimate expression of service in healthcare.
“In often difficult and challenging environments, it’s a privilege to provide care and support to those who have chosen to selflessly serve,” Commander Saunders said.
Commander Saunders, who began his nursing career in regional Australia out of a deep personal sense of service to others, considers his current appointment as the Head of Profession for Navy Nursing as one of his most significant achievements.
“I value the opportunity to influence policy, governance and the way we grow our capability in Navy health,” Commander Saunders said. Nursing Officer Specialisation Capability Adviser, Wing Commander Robyn Tatnell, said Air Force had provided her with the opportunity to apply her nursing skills in a number of environments, from the back of an aircraft to the midst of natural disasters and conflict zones.
“While the workplaces have been varied, nursing is about making connections with those in our care, sometimes under the most difficult of circumstances,” Wing Commander Tatnell said.
“I am proud to be an Air Force nurse and would like to recognise all nurses for their service and sacrifice in our communities and overseas.”
Nurses continue to do great work across the globe, working in remote and dangerous places as well as on peacekeeping missions providing essential medical treatment and care to those ravaged by war or natural disasters.
The theme for this year’s International Nurses Day is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health.
The theme focuses on the need to protect, support and invest in the nursing profession to strengthen health systems around the world.
Joint Health Command held several events in health centres across Australia to mark the occasion.
Head of Corps Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps, Colonel Toni Bushby, and Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, opened an exhibit in the office of the Chief of Army to acknowledge the significant contribution of Army nurses through history.
Surgeon General Australian Defence Force, Rear Admiral Sarah Sharkey, acknowledged the enormous contribution of Defence nurses to the COVID-19 health response, as well as those who served as nurses in previous conflicts and in peacetime.
“You have made a positive difference to many. Your contributions are greatly valued by your patients, at every level of command, and by the Australian community. We are all deeply grateful for your professionalism, courage and tireless work,” Rear Admiral Sharkey said.