Celebrating International Nurses Day

Celebrating International Nurses Day

International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on 12 May with the World Health Organisation naming 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife to mark the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, who is widely regarded as the founder of modern nursing.

It seems a more prophetic year could not have been chosen as frontline healthcare workers are under a global spotlight fighting the most prolific pandemic in modern times.

There has never been a more important time to recognise and acknowledge the contribution nurses selflessly make to our society and their unwavering dedication to keeping us safe.

Nigel Massey is a Registered Nurse who works in Mater's Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU), caring for premature and critically ill babies. This International Nurses Day he shared what life is like working with Mater’s smallest patients.

“I began nursing in the United Kingdom where I worked in Neo-natal Intensive Care Units (NICU’s). I did a lot of retrievals, picking up babies from other hospitals and bringing them by ambulance to the main hospital, it gave me a great sense of achievement knowing these children were safe,” he said.

“After 14 years working in the UK, I was looking for a change in direction, this was around the time they were building the new Mater Mothers’ Hospital in Brisbane, I saw the position advertised so I went for it.

“I was able to meet the NCCU Nursing Director Lynne Elliott who sold me the position, I didn’t have any knowledge of Mater when I first came here but I have found it an excellent place to work and I have been here for 11 years now.”

Nigel works in pre-term medical intensive care looking after one to two babies at a time depending on their individual need and conditions.

“Days can go very quickly here; I work in general intensive care which includes respiratory care. The size and scale of the NCCU is quite comprehensive, we are a 79-bed unit providing a valuable service to families all over Queensland,” Nigel said.  

“One of the biggest components of my work is actually taking care of the parents, they are under an enormous amount of stress and uncertainty while their baby is in the ward and we do everything we can to support them.

“I am very proud of the unit and the work that we do and I am able to work with a great group of people. Sometimes the days are tough but it’s what I’ve always done. I come to work every day with a smile on my face and I usually leave with one as well.”

Fortunately, Nigel and his colleagues have not treated any COVID-19 positive patients on the ward however the pandemic has impacted on their day-to-day work.

“Because I work in an area with such highly immunocompromised babies my daily hygiene practices are of a very high standard and have not needed to change. The greatest impacts we have felt have been around social distancing and visiting restrictions to the ward,” Nigel said.

“Families have been very good to us, and very understanding, it’s a stressful time for them and we are hoping we can get back to normal soon.”

International Nurses Day presents a perfect time to reflect on the many different types of work done by nurses around the world.

“For me International Nurses Day is a time for the public to reflect on the valuable work nurses do for themselves, their families, their relatives and everyone in the community,” Nigel said.

“As nurses it gives us a chance to reflect on each other and how valuable our work is. It’s a chance to praise each other and the perfect time for recognition.”

In celebration we invite you, our Mater Mothers community, to take a moment to post a personal message of thanks to our team of amazing nurses and midwifes


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