ANMF celebrates International Nurses Day 2020

12 May 2020

On International Nurses Day (IND) this year, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), the proud union of more than 285,000 nurses, midwives and aged care workers, is celebrating the work ANMF members do every day for every Australian.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler says that IND has a special and increased significance this year, both because 2020 is the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and because of the prominent role nurses have played around the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“IND is always important to our union, as is International Midwives’ Day (5 May) and is traditionally a day when we celebrate nurses’ work and its impact on the health of our communities. However, this year, with a world disrupted by the global coronavirus pandemic and governments scrambling to save lives, a job we have done very well in Australia, the critical importance of nurses’ work to the health of our communities has never been clearer,” Ms Butler said today.

“Nurses around the globe have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. From the onset of the outbreak in Australia, nursing organisations were centrally involved in implementing key health strategies to contain COVID-19 while thousands of nurses immediately volunteered to assist in whatever way they could. The desire to help and the courage and compassion of nurses on the frontline doing the best for their communities have been demonstrated in every country across the world.

“Sadly, this extraordinary effort has come at considerable cost, with hundreds of nurses around the world losing their lives to COVID-19. We have been very fortunate in this regard in Australia, but we want to honour the sacrifice of our global nursing colleagues on this IND. The ANMF, in collaboration with the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation, will tonight hold an online candlelight vigil at 7pm (AEST) to commemorate the dedication of our lost colleagues to caring for their patients and residents.

“Nurses’ extraordinary commitment and dedication for those in their care has definitely been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But what we’re seeing in these extraordinary times is in fact what nurses, and midwives and care-workers, do every day, in every circumstance, for those in their care. Nursing is always extraordinary work, but in normal times, it is often less visible.

“This is one of the main reasons the WHO has declared this year as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The need to raise the profile of nursing and midwifery around the globe, underpins the WHO’s declaration because it recognises that this will lead to greater gender equality, stronger economies and healthier communities for all nations. To do this requires real investment and political commitment.

“While this year’s aim is to increase global focus on nurses and recognition from politicians, the community has always understood the impact of nursing. Every member of the community has been touched by the care and compassion of a nurse, midwife or care-worker.

“So for this year’s IND, in these extraordinary times, a number of well-known, much loved Australian celebrities, including Missy Higgins, Hamish and Andy, Magda Szubanski, Marcia Hines and others have joined us to share their stories and thank nurses and midwives for the care they have received and the lasting impact nurses and midwives have made to their lives.”

To watch the International Nurses Day video and the COVID-19 Nurses Vigil, go to the ANMF’s Facebook page:

ANMF media release authorised by Annie Butler, ANMF Federal Secretary. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne.

The ANMF, with over 285,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and carers in Australia. ANMF

Media inquiries: Richard Lenarduzzi 0411 254 390

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