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District applauds extraordinary contribution of nurses and midwives

International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

May 2020

District applauds extraordinary contribution of nurses and midwives

Nurses and midwives are at the heart of the world-class health care Sydney Local Health District provides for patients and their families.

"So far, 2020 has been an extraordinary time for nurses and midwives.

"It's highlighted the critical contribution nurses and midwives make to the health care system not only in our District, but across Australia and around the world," Ivanka Komusanac, the District's Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services said.

The World Health Organisation has declared 2020 The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

It's also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

This month, the District is marking International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses Day
While celebrations have been postponed, the District wants to publically acknowledge the passion, dedication and professionalism of the more than 5000 nurses and midwives employed in Sydney LHD – who are all working to meet the challenges of COVID-19.

Special gift bags are being distributed to them. They contain items donated by businesses and the community, in appreciation of the work nurses and midwives do.

Nurses and midwives care for patients in the District's hospitals and clinics as well as reaching out to the vulnerable in our community and delivering care to clients in their homes and in community health centres.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature of the work many nurses and midwives do and the way patient care is delivered.

"Our nurses have been deployed to screen passengers at Sydney Airport, on cruise ships, in boarding houses and residential aged care facilities," Ivanka said.

"They've staffed COVID-19 Clinics in our hospitals and the community.

"They've contributed to the set-up of accommodation for people in self-isolation, worked with rpavirtual to provide telehealth care, assisted the Public Health Unit with contact tracing and phoned patients via our COVID-19 call centre.

"Our nurses in critical care have assisted with the expansion of Intensive Care Units and the care and management of COVID-19 patients and their loved ones," she said.

And, now more than ever, the District's midwives are playing a vital role supporting women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period.

The District is home to almost 320 midwives delivering more than 6200 babies a year across RPA and Canterbury in birth centres, delivery, postnatal and antenatal units, and Midwifery Group Practice services.

"Midwives make a significant contribution to maternal and newborn health," Ivanka said.

"During COVID-19, midwives are providing compassionate care for women, their babies and families at a time which is full of uncertainty.

"With changes to visiting at our hospitals, and social distancing measures in place across the community, we recognise many women may not have had their family and friends surrounding them.

"Our midwives have stepped up to provide additional support, via telehealth care and virtual education programs, during this challenging time," she said.

Teams have also continued to provide exceptional care for patients who rely on the District's expertise and help every day of the year.

"While many staff have been redeployed to COVID-19 related duties, we also want to honour the essential work of those who continue to deliver quality health care for all of the other patients in our District," Ivanka said.

"Nursing is one of the largest health professions. About half of the District's staff are nurses or midwives.

"They're providing support and care to patients and families around the clock, every day of the year, in hospital theatres, wards, community centres and at times in the home," she said.

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