Today, 12 May, marks International Nurses Day, a worldwide celebration of nurses. File image.

Celebrated on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, International Nurses Day is an annual event that recognises the hard work of nurses worldwide.

This year, ACT nurses are being thanked for their key roles in the COVID-19 pandemic as frontline workers and in the ACT Government’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

According to the International Council of Nurses (INC), the COVID-19 effect, combined with current nursing shortages worldwide and the ageing of the nursing workforce, could lead to a potential shortfall of up to 13 million nurses by 2030.

In the ACT, there are currently 7,000 nurses providing services in a variety of diverse health settings and supporting the local community.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said that the expertise, flexibility and proactive attitude of ACT nurses responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has been exceptional.

“The ACT Government is proud of the skilled and dedicated nurses and midwives who work across the ACT, who are always there to support individuals, families and our community,” she said.

“Nurses provide care in our hospitals, aged care facilities and community health centres. They support Canberrans across primary, acute, public and private healthcare and are involved in policy making, leadership, education, research and innovation.”

This year, the theme for International Nurses Day is ‘Nurses: a voice to lead – a vision for future healthcare’.

The theme highlights the ongoing development of nursing and how the profession will transform the future of healthcare around the world.

In a video message, INC president Annette Kennedy said, “It’s very evident that nurses are an invaluable contribution to building healthy societies”.

“They have been invaluable in this pandemic … They have been reaching out to those people most in need,” Ms Kennedy said.

While Canberra has been lucky in the wake of the pandemic, Ms Stephen-Smith said that nurses need to be recognised because they “provide compassionate, evidence-based care in all settings of the health sector”.

“The ACT Government is committed to working with nurses and their representatives to continue highlighting the pivotal role nurses play in our health care system,” she said.

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