International Nurses Day is celebrated each year on 12 May - the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.
It's a chance to acknowledge our nurses and thank them for their service.
Nursing is a noble profession. It demands a high level of expertise, a career-spanning commitment to professional development and compassion for others. The current pandemic has reminded us not only of the critical role nurses play in keeping us safe, but also of the daily risks they encounter in doing so.
As of 31 January this year, more than 2,700 nurses in 59 countries have died from COVID-19. More than 1.6 million healthcare workers in 34 countries have become infected with the virus in the course of their work.
In all parts of the world, nurses have made - and continue to make - personal sacrifices in the fight against COVID-19. We should never lose sight of just how immense those sacrifices are.
Here in NSW, while there's still a way to go, we're firmly on the path to recovery from the pandemic, as the vaccine rollout accelerates across the state. Nurses have been instrumental in the delivery of those vaccinations (and, of course, in all other areas of our health care system).
In the 2019-20 budget the NSW Government committed $2.8 billion to recruit a total of 8,300 frontline health staff over the next four years, including 5,000 nurses and midwives.
This record boost will expand service capacity across the state and, importantly, alleviate pressure on hardworking frontline healthcare workers.
On International Nurses Day you can show your support for our health service's 'healing hearts' by wearing a blue or purple heart sticker, or posting a heart on your social media channels using the hashtags #IDM2021, #IND2021 and #ExceptionalCare. The colour purple is widely acknowledged as representing midwifery, and the colour blue represents nursing.
To all our nurses here in the Sutherland Shire: your efforts, particularly over the past year, have been heroic.
Thank you and happy International Nurses Day.
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