Well into the third year of the pandemic, International Midwives Day (5 May) and International Nurses Day (12 May) give us reason to pause and reflect on our contribution.
Like colleagues a century ago, the pandemic has once again crystalized the community’s understanding of the life-saving contribution of nurses and midwives.
While some thought the pandemic would prompt an exodus from the professions, we have instead grown. There are 115,631 practising registered and enrolled nurses in Victoria, up from 110,011 a year ago. That is an increase of 5602 nurses*.
Victoria has 8187 dual registered nurse/ midwives and 1655 midwives. Twelve months ago, there were 7875 dual registered nurse/midwives and 1625 midwives. That is an increase of 342 midwives*.
The pandemic has been the greatest healthcare challenge of our times. It has tested all of us. It has revealed our resilience, our courage and at times our fragility as nurses and midwives.
The adrenalin of working through the first two years has turned to exhaustion in the third. This means, we suspect, that many nurses and midwives have reduced their hours to recharge and recover from the past two years and the most recent outbreak which is still with us and the code brown.
ANMF continues to lobby the Andrews Government for a further financial package to recognize and incentivise nurses and midwives so they stay in the workforce and return to their pre-pandemic hours when they feel recharged and able.
The role of trained and untrained nurses during the 1918-19 influenza pandemic and World War I led to an appreciation of the value of training nurses. In order to tell the trained nurses and untrained nurses apart, legislation was passed in the early 1920s to register ‘trained’ nurses for the first time.
Like Victorians did a 100 years ago, we will continue to learn from the pandemic, there will be silver linings and International Midwives Day and International Nurses Day and will be days of celebration again.
If you did not get a chance to see the Her Place Women’s Museum Australia’s exhibition which paid tribute to Victorian nurses and midwives, or you would like to see it again, it is now available online.
Unmasked: celebrating nursing and midwifery, Victoria and beyond was originally planned to mark the international year of the nurse and the midwife in 2020. The exhibition was funded by the Andrews Government and presented in partnership with the Department of Health, Safer Care Victoria and ANMF (Vic Branch).
The pandemic meant it was unable to open its doors until March 2021. Further outbreaks and restrictions meant a regional Victoria tour had to be cancelled.
To preserve Unmasked and its fascinating objects and stories, ANMF has worked with Her Place to create a digital exhibition.
International Midwives Day Forum
There is still time to register for ANMF’s International Midwives Day forum to discussion issues and innovations in midwifery practice. The forum will be held from 2pm – 3pm, Thursday 5 May. Register
ANMF (Vic Branch) wishes all members a happy 2022 International Midwives Day on 5 May and a happy 2022 International Nurses Day on 12 May.
We hope you are able to take a few minutes to reflect on the extraordinary contribution you have made to the lives of Victorians especially over the last 12 months. We also hope that your employer acknowledges these important two days in our professions’ calendar.