International Nurses Day was marked last week and students at the La Trobe University Mildura campus celebrated.

The university said that given the year we’ve just had, it was more important than ever that we thank and acknowledge our nurses, many of whom have contracted the virus, or cared for people who have.

Dean and Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at La Trobe University, Professor Lisa McKenna said that celebrated annually on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, International Nurses Day recognises the work of nurses across the world.

“This year is particularly meaningful and important,” she said.
“For the past 18 months, nurses have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, working quietly and diligently to care for those impacted, as well as their own colleagues.
”Being the health professionals that have the closest contact with patients, they often put their own needs aside to fulfil their caring responsibilities.
“Many have contracted the virus and will have long term health issues of their own to fight. Others will hold vivid memories of what they have witnessed for the rest of their lives.
“The International Council of Nurses estimated that by December 2020, 1.6 million health workers had contracted COVID-19 − and this number would have increased significantly since then. 
”The pandemic has become another war where nurses have played a pivotal role. Here in Australia, the pandemic has largely been controlled and things are returning to normal.”

Nurses making a difference

Intensive care nurse Concettina (Conci) Malcotti, PICTURED, is a graduate who is making a difference in her hometown of Mildura.

Conci has had many meaningful moments with her patients since becoming a nurse at Mildura Base Hospital in 2020.

Though, the one that made the biggest impact on Conci really began to hit home after her patient had left the hospital.

A big, bright bunch of flowers arrived at the front desk with a list of staff who’d made a difference in a patient’s care – Conci’s name included.

This small gesture was her patient’s way of saying thank you for helping them through what was undoubtedly one of the worst times in their life.

Just a week earlier, Conci was sitting in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with a trauma patient who’d suffered a crush injury, the same one who’d later order her flowers. Over a few shifts she’d built a good relationship with the patient and their partner, learning about their lives, their family and the hardships they’d faced and overcome.

“These people were so positive, so strong and honestly so inspiring after everything they’d been through, and all I hoped was to provide them with the best quality holistic care that I could,” says Conci.

“They made a big impact on me and on the way I see nursing.”

Though Conci wasn’t present when the patient had been discharged, she knew she’d done her part to make a difference in their lives.

“It was the most remarkable feeling I’ve had to this day in my nursing career,” she says. “Knowing that I had provided the best possible care I could for this family gave me an overwhelming feeling of warmth and appreciation for the career I am in.”

* Conci’s story courtesy of MyLaTrobe.