2020: A year to celebrate our nurses and midwives

PORT AUGUSTA: (Back) Associate Nurse Unit Manager Susan Bonetti, Nurse Unit Manger Jenny Bury, Director of Nursing and Midwifery Alison Hoare, (front) Registered Nurse and Midwife Miho Saito, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Angela McLachlan.
PORT AUGUSTA: (Back) Associate Nurse Unit Manager Susan Bonetti, Nurse Unit Manger Jenny Bury, Director of Nursing and Midwifery Alison Hoare, (front) Registered Nurse and Midwife Miho Saito, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Angela McLachlan.

Miho Saito trained as a nurse and midwife in Japan before gracing the floors of the Port Augusta Hospital in 2006.

She has since participated in several humanitarian missions including stints in Nepal, Nigeria and the Middle East.

During these missions, Miho delivered lifesaving care to help people overcome catastrophic situations where communities and health structures are often overwhelmed.

"When I was a kid, I was a paediatric patient most of the time and I liked the paediatric nurse. I thought, if I could be a nurse that would be nice," Miho said.

"At some stage I noticed that in developing countries a lot of women or babies died through childbirth. I thought if I was a nurse and a midwife I could work both ways - practicing both and doing more for people in difficult situations."

Miho is one of many nurses and midwives at the Port Augusta Hospital working tirelessly to improve the health and well-being of others.

The World Health Organisation has dedicated the entire year of 2020 to celebrating those in the profession.

Nurses are often the first and only point of care in their communities, this is especially true in country health where nurses are considered the backbone of the industry.

Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Angela McLachlan praised the Nursing and Midwifery Workforce in the Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network.

"I am proud to lead such a dedicated and professional team," she said.

"What I enjoy most about my role is the opportunity to engage with the communities of our Local Health Network, I love hearing first hand from residents and patients about the amazing work our Nurses and Midwives do everyday day to ensure the needs of their communities are met."

While the profession is constantly changing, one thing that remains constant is the care for patients.

Over time, modern nurses and midwives have garned much deserved respect as specialist members of the health care team.

"When Nursing began it had little to do with formal training and today Registered Nurses and Midwives are trained in a tertiary model and Enrolled Nurses via education programs," Ms McLachlan said.

"Many of the Nurses and Midwives at the Port Augusta Hospital also have post graduate specialist qualifications

"The professions have evolved and they now work in wide range of settings including hospitals, classrooms, community health, research and other industries."

Technology has played a significant role in the evolution of the profession, with nurses helping patients navigate the virtual health world.

Year of the Nurse and Midwfie also coincides with Florence Nightingales 200th birthday,

As well as her work during the Crimean War, the nursing pioneer campaigned for healthcare improvements - especially on infection control.

"Every year on International Nurses Day we celebrate the legacy of Florence and the evolution of our professions," Ms McLachlan said.

"The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife marks are truly monumental year for the professions of Nursing and Midwifery.

"2020 is a great opportunity to celebrate rural and remote nursing and midwifery practice and to celebrate our local Nurses and Midwives who do an amazing job every day caring for some of the most vulnerable patients in country South Australia."