International Nurses' Day: driving change to deliver quality care

12 May, 2014

As nurses celebrate International Nurses' Day (IND) across Australia (Monday 12 May), the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says it's an opportunity for Australians to congratulate nurses and to commend their vital contribution to the health of our community.

IND highlights how Australia's nurses can drive the changes needed to ensure a sustainable nursing workforce to deliver quality care for all Australians.

ANMF Assistant Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, said: "IND is especially important this year as the work of nurses and the vital contribution they make to the health system could be critically compromised by damaging cuts to health that will be announced in the Abbott Government's Budget tomorrow night."

"Nurses, who represent the largest proportion of the nation's health workforce, are regarded by the community as Australia's most trusted professionals.

"Nurses are a vital resource for the health of our population, delivering quality care to people of all ages in every environment: hospitals, emergency departments, maternity, mental health, disability and aged care facilities right across the country. Our nation's health is dependent on them.

"But our nurses are now under threat of working in a health-system where more and more Australians simply won't be able to afford out of pocket fees to get the healthcare they require – whether it's seeing a GP, visiting the hospital emergency department (ED) or getting a prescription for their medicine filled.

 "As a former Health Minister, Abbott should realise that our nurses are an invaluable resource for Australia's health system and the ongoing delivery of safe patient care. As such, he should be consulting with nurses on the best ways to maintain quality health care for all Australians and to build a sustainable nursing workforce into the future.

"But there has been no consultation with nurses by the Abbott Government in determining the future directions of the health system. The ANMF is warning that ignoring the advice of nurses and other health professionals who genuinely understand the health system will have dire consequences for the health of our community.

"That's why the ANMF is using IND to show the Abbott Government why universal healthcare must be maintained to ensure nurses can continue providing quality care across the community – giving all Australians the right care, at the right time at the right place.

"Nurses are a force for change and a vital resource for health and they will be a force to be reckoned with in defending universal health care as a fundamental right for all Australians and the health of our community."

IND is celebrated globally on the anniversary of the birthday of Florence Nightingale, generally regarded as the founder of modern nursing.  The theme of IND 2014 is Nurses: A Force for Change – A vital resource for health.