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To mark this year’s International Nurses Day and International Day of the Midwife, Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union Secretary, Beth Mohle, has paid tribute to incredible work of a cohort who have been through “a hell of a couple of years”.
Ms Mohle said nurses and midwives made an enormous contribution to our communities, and the challenges they faced were unique.
In an exclusive chat with us, Ms Mohle spoke directly to nurses and midwives saying: “I just really want to thank you for everything that you’ve done, not only during the pandemic, but in your day-to-day work.
“We (the QNMU) will keep working with you and for you to make sure your work is appropriately valued.”
Nurses and midwives comprise Australia’s largest clinical workforce, with around 450,000 registered practitioners in the country, and they have faced some unique challenges – especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
This International Nurses Day (May 12) and International Day of the Midwife (May 5), we are shining a light on the very real difference these incredible professionals make and highlighting why nursing and midwifery are so important to the health and economic well-being of individuals and our communities.
“Nursing and midwifery are incredibly rewarding professions, but it is incredibly hard work as well,” Ms Mohle said, pointing out that someone pursuing a nursing or midwifery career would face continuous shift work, the possibility of contact with transmissible diseases, and earn less than professionals in most other industries.
The theme of this year’s International Day of the Midwife is ‘’100 years of progress’’ and Ms Mohle said it was important to celebrate all that Queensland nurses and midwives had achieved, and how their work underpinned the health of communities and the economy.
“Queensland has got the highest number of eligible midwives out of any state in the country and we’ve got really fantastic midwifery-led community-based models,” she said.
“There are continuity-of-care models now where women are cared for by the same midwife throughout the whole of their pregnancy and through to their birth.
“In our state alone we have 400 nurse navigators, whose role is to make sure that people who have chronic or complex health conditions are navigated through the system without falling between the cracks.”
Systems like these not only make a phenomenal difference in terms of the health outcomes for individuals, but they save the health system an enormous amount of money, she said.
“Around the world, over 115,000 health workers have died during the pandemic, and the vast majority of those would be nurses and midwives,” Ms Mohle said.
Recent data shows this figure may be as high as 180,000 health care workers globally. “It’s not often thought of as being dangerous work, but clearly it is dangerous work,” she said.
While nurses and midwives focus continually on helping others, the union is focussed on helping them – and helping them to focus on them, she said.
But at the same time, it’s so important the nurses and midwives put themselves first, she said.
"It’s a bit like when you’re on an aeroplane and the oxygen mask comes down: put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others."
“What works for a nine-to-five worker in terms of being able to come out and attend seminars won’t work for (nurses and midwives) on continuous shift work. That’s why we focus on knowing these members well, and finding financial wellbeing strategies that suit them.”
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This content is provided for information purposes only, and the opinions expressed are theirs alone and should not be taken as financial product advice. You should get professional advice before making an investment decision. Beth Mohle is also director of Australian Retirement Trust Board.
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