International Nurses Day

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4 months ago
International Nurses Day
GED KEARNEY, MEMBER FOR COOPER: Good morning everyone I’m Ged Kearney, I’m the Federal Member for Cooper, and I too am very proud to say that I am a nurse. When I set out to be a nurse, I had no idea what satisfaction and wonders it would bring me. It really is a wonderful career. It will take you anywhere.

Whenever we think of nurses, we always think of caring people. We think of people who look after us at our most vulnerable, our most intimate moments, people who keep us well, people who keep our spirits up, people who get us through some of life’s hardest moments. But as Helen said, we must remember that nurses are also expert clinicians. They are scientists, they are researchers and more than that they are advocates and they actually are agents of change. It's nurses who stand up year after year and fight for our public health service. They fight for Medicare. They fight for their colleagues and themselves to be safe at work. They fight for so many things that keep our country healthy, robust and safe.

I'd like to give a particular shout out today to nurses who work in aged care. They've been under the limelight recently for all the wrong reasons, but I think what we have to understand that there are thousands of elderly people out there who rely on nurses and carers every single day. They do a wonderful job and I want to say thank you. And it's for you and your residents that we are undergoing intense scrutiny through the Royal Commission to make sure that our aged care service is the best it can be. We need to make sure there are qualified, skilled registered nurses in our nursing homes. We need to make sure that there are enough carers. We need to make sure that there is accountability and transparency in our aged care system. And we need to remember that it's nurses and the carers in our system who carry that load, and that is why we need to make sure that the system is robust always.

I'd also like to give a shout out to the nurses around the world who are working so hard during this crisis. If there's one thing that the COVID crisis has highlighted, it's just who are indeed essential in our world. And nurses at the front line are one of the most essential parts of our economy and our community. We couldn't have got through this crisis without them. The ANMF, the nurses union, estimate around the world about 250 nurses have died because of exposure to Coronavirus. They literally have put their lives on the line during this time. We remember them. We thank them sincerely.

Being a nurse is a wonderful thing. As I said, it can take you anywhere you want to go. But you know it is a two way thing. We have to respect that. It does make you wonder when we realise they are one of the most essential services in the world, how undervalued they actually are. And I think this crisis has shown that many of the essential services are indeed feminised workforces like nursing. We need to make sure they're paid properly. We need to make sure that they’re kept safe in their work. Access to things like personal protective equipment, which has been very difficult during this time is incredibly important.

So when we think about crises, we need to think about the helpers, the carers, the people who step up, and make sure they’re protected as well. So a big shout out to the unions who look after nurses, to the ANMF my own union, to the HSU, to the unions that look after our carers like the United Workers Union. Thank you for the work you do every day to protect nurses and advocate for them.

And to all the nurses out there. Happy International Nurses Day. Normally we would be celebrating with cakes and cups of tea and all sorts of things in the hospitals. I know we can't do that today, but we're having a virtual cake, a cup of tea with you today. So thank you so much for what you do, you really are appreciated. Thank you.

Health and Aged Care