International Midwives and Nurses Days

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:41): I rise to support this motion by the member for Hurtle Vale. I certainly want to acknowledge the great work that nurses and midwives do in our community.

I will note the motion:

That this house—

(a) recognises International Day of the Midwife held on 5 May annually, with the theme this year being 'Midwives leading the way with quality care';

(b) recognises International Nurses Day held on 12 May annually, with the theme this year being 'Nurses, a voice to lead: health is a human right'; and

(c) thanks all midwives and nurses for the important work that they do caring for our community.

We do need to recognise International Nurses Day and International Day of the Midwife. It is an opportunity for all of us to pause and reflect on the important role that nurses and midwives have in healthcare settings in South Australia and across the world.

Nurses and midwives are there when life begins and there when it ends. There are few professions that have that privilege but also carry with them such immense responsibility. Celebrated on 5 May, the global theme for this year's International Day of the Midwife is 'Midwives leading the way with quality care'. This theme signifies the vital role that midwives play to ensure that women and babies safely navigate pregnancy and birth and recognises that these early interactions can lay the foundation for continued health and wellbeing beyond childbirth.

International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. This year it focuses on the theme 'Nurses, a voice to lead: health is a human right'. Florence Nightingale was instrumental in changing society's approach to and the view of nursing and midwifery. She was a humanitarian who dedicated her life's work to benefit others, but she also understood and fought for the valuable contribution that nurses and midwives can and should make in healthcare settings.

With this year's International Nurses Day theme in mind, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, the Hon. Stephen Wade, awarded the inaugural humanitarian awards at the Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards on 11 May 2018. These awards recognise individuals in local health settings who go above and beyond the call of duty to provide outstanding care to their patients, just as the lady with the lamp did over 150 years ago.

While it is very important to celebrate these individual achievements, International Nurses Day and International Day of the Midwife provide us with an important opportunity to acknowledge the collective contributions of the state's nurses and midwives, those in aged or community care, those in disability or mental health, those in acute or primary care, and so on. There is barely healthcare intervention in South Australia that a nurse or midwife does not have a key role in, whether it is guiding a newborn into the world, delivering a child's vaccination (which, I can tell you, from watching one of my children, was a noisy experience), helping rehabilitate a motor accident victim or caring for someone at the end of their life, to name but a few.

The government has committed to assist in building the capacity and capability of nursing and midwifery through the Rural Health Workforce Strategy. This commitment aligns with the South Australian Health Strategic Plan 2017-20 in ensuring a suitably qualified nursing and midwifery workforce is available to deliver evidence-based, high-quality nursing and midwifery services across the care continuum that is safe and reliable, integrates services and holds the patient and their family at the centre of service design and delivery, importantly for the people living in the most isolated and remote areas of South Australia.

I certainly want to acknowledge all nurses—triage nurses and nurse practitioners—who do that job in rural South Australia, especially in those difficult situations, when we do not always have a doctor on site and we have the SAVES initiative in place, when a doctor looks through a remote camera at what could be a car accident victim or something. I want to acknowledge the extended role they play and the extended training they take to protect those of us in regional areas and provide absolutely valuable, quality health care. In saying that, we are absolutely committed on this side of the house to supporting and valuing the contribution of nurses and midwives in this state.

To South Australia's nurses and midwives, not just to those who are currently practising but to those who have carried the professions forward over generations—thank you. On behalf of this side of the house, the government and all South Australians, thank you for your hard work, your compassion and your commitment to making a difference in the lives of the South Australian community. Thank you, all.

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