Celebrate our nurses, our heroes, on this International Day of the Nurse

To the nation's nurses ... With love, gratitude and sincerity. Photo: Shutterstock
To the nation's nurses ... With love, gratitude and sincerity. Photo: Shutterstock

Tuesday is the International Day of the Nurse, and never have we had more reason to celebrate and thank the nurses in our communitities.

Nursing has always been one of the most, if not the most, admired and trusted professions, but the critical, often selfless role, of nurses has been brought into sharp relief during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nurses have, obviously, been on the front line of coronavirus treatment and testing. But as the pandemic plays out, nurses across our community have continued to do their jobs in other just as important areas - palliative care, community nursing, aged care, paediatrics, maternity, ICU and so much more.

Artist Banksy probably said it best - with no words at all - when his beautiful tribute to nurses was unveiled in England last week: a child playing with his new superhero toy, a nurse.

Yet you will be hard-pressed to find a nurse who would ever describe themselves as a superhero. It's just not in their DNA. They are humble, hard-working, caring, pragmatic, vital. And we thank them.

The Australian College of Nursing on International Nurses Day usually holds a breakfast for nurses to get together, network and celebrate the occasion.

As that can't happen this year, the college is encouraging nurses to "hold a self-care breakfast", with nurses planning to "connect online with their friends and colleagues to enjoy this meal, try out a new recipe, have breakfast in bed, or simply have a quiet cup of tea".

The college's chief executive officer, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward, said on this special day the college wanted to "shine a light on Australian nurses, and in particular their response to COVID-19".

"We have seen an extraordinary response from our nursing community across the country during this time and we acknowledge and thank them for their expertise, professionalism, quick thinking and tireless work," Professor Ward said.

"Nurses exist at almost every major point in our life cycle, and at the heart of every health and social issue we have. A nurse can quite literally save your life. And will. To be a nurse is to choose a life of service to humanity."