This blog post accompanies a chat with 3rd / 4th year James Cook University (JCU) Nurse/Midwife students at an industry presentation day on 12th May 2022. Here is a copy of the slide show I’ll be using for the presentation @ JCU on the day:
Below are snippets and elaborations of the info we will touch-on/discuss on the day. Parking the information online just in case any of the JCU Students want to come back to it, and/or if it happens to be of interest to others.
Slide 1 As part of introducing myself, I’ll also introduce the idea/example of nurses intentionally making themselves visible on social media (eg: linktr.ee/meta4RN). More about that sort of thing here and here.
Slide 2 The day of the JCU student nurse industry presentation = 12th May = Florence Nightingale’s birthday = International Nurses Day. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. But anyway, here’s a link to 20 tweetable fun facts that I like to trot-out to celebrate International Nurses Day: meta4RN.com/nurses2020 Also, check out the #IND2022 hashtag on social media.
Slide 3 Mental Health Nursing is vastly different to other hospital-based specialist nursing roles. I reckon it’s a very good fit for people who are very adaptable. A few years ago Australian researchers coined the ‘Ten P’s of the professional profile that is mental health nursing’:
present personal participant partnering professional phenomenological pragmatic power-sharing psycho-therapeutic proud profound
Slides 4 & 5 Part of what makes Mental Health Nursing different is the structure of public mental health services. Inpatient care is just a small part of the service structure, and there is a lot of emphasis on outpatient/community based services. There are options to specialise (as I have done, more about that here and here), or – as Mental Health Nurses who work in rural and remote areas do – do a little bit of nearly everything on the list of services of slide 5/in the table below.
Central Intake Service Emergency Department Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Service
Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit Mental Health Unit Step-Up/Step-Down Unit Community Care Unit
Acute Care Team Continuing Care Teams Mobile Intensive Treatment Team Older Persons Mental Health Service Child & Youth Mental Health Service Evolve Therapeutic Services Perinatal & Infant Mental Health NQ Eating Disorder Service Forensic & Prison Mental Health Alcohol Tobacco & Other Drugs Rural Mental Health Remote Mental Health
Examples of mental health services/settings
Slide 6 On any given day, less that 1% of people who are open the Mental Health/Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs Service that I work for are receiving specialist psychiatric inpatient treatment. The vast majority of mental health and addiction support and recovery happens in community settings, as evidenced by the data (collected on 12/04/22) below:
Cairns Hospital PICU/MHU Beds, n = 48 Cairns & Hinterland MHATODS Case Load, n = 5531
Slide 7 What do Mental Health Nurses do? Well, it’s pretty varied, but includes:
Complete a Graduate Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma or Masters in Mental Health Nursing
(Optional) Undertake additional training in specific psychological therapies
Successfully apply to be credentialed by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses – the peak professional mental health nursing organisation and the recognised credentialing body for Australia’s mental health nurses.
Slide 12 That’s it. Questions? 🙂
If the session is videoed, I don’t make an idiot of myself, and I’m allowed to get a copy of the video, I’ll drop a version of it here via my YouTube channel sometime after 12th May.
That’s three things that have to go right… might be a bit ambitious 🙂
Key References/Further Reading
Australian College of Mental Health Nursing acmhn.org
Hurley, J. & Lakeman, R. (2021), Making the case for clinical mental health nurses to break their silence on the healing they create: A critical discussion. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.doi.org/10.1111/inm.12836
Isobel, S., Wilson, A., Gill, K., Schelling, K. & Howe, D. (2021), What is needed for Trauma Informed Mental Health Services in Australia? Perspectives of clinicians and managers. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.doi.org/10.1111/inm.12811
McKenna Lawson, S. (2022), How we say what we do and why it is important: An idiosyncratic analysis of mental health nursing identity on social media. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.doi.org/10.1111/inm.12991
Moyo, N., Jones, M. & Gray, R. (2022), What are the core competencies of a mental health nurse? A concept mapping study involving five stakeholder groups. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.doi.org/10.1111/inm.13003
Santangelo, P., Procter, N. and Fassett, D. (2018), Mental health nursing: Daring to be different, special and leading recovery-focused care?. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.doi.org/10.1111/inm.12316
As always, feedback is welcome via the comments section below.
Naturally, if you think it will be of interest to any nurse/nearly-nurse you know, you are very welcome to forward the info on by whatever means you see fit. 🙂
If you haven’t seen these three things happen yet, you probably will soon now that you’re on watch for them: – diagnostic overshadowing – documentation resulting in a cascade of bias – empathy failure
Together with Rebecca Callahan, I’ve written about diagnostic overshadowing before [here]. Diagnostic overshadowing is where current physical problems, symptoms or pathology gets overlooked, dismissed or downplayed because of the distraction of a documented history of a previous problem, eg: drug and/or alcohol use, mental health problems, or intellectual disability.
I was reminded of this when reading this excerpt from a recent article by Searby, Burr, James & Maude (2022):
I have a client who comes and sees me who has cirrhosis. I requested him to go and see a doctor at the local ED Department. ED don’t see him because they view him as just that junkie, just that drunk. This gentleman then has an acute exacerbation of his physical health, but it’s not seen as important…
Sound familiar? It’s not just in ED, it’s in other parts of the health system too.
Today I stumbled across a phrase I haven’t heard/read before: “a cascade of bias” (Martin, Bickle & Lok, 2022). The phrase “a cascade of bias” is in a report on a quantitative, observational study that compared the behaviour of nurses when they were exposed to either neutral or biased patient documentation. It’s embarrassing to me (a nurse) that the study found that biased language in documentation influenced how (un)helpful nurses were, and affected other aspects of clinical judgement and decision-making.
That’s a grim finding, isn’t it? It’s not just the unconscious cognitive bias of diagnostic overshadowing we have to watch out for. We have to watch out for letting that unconscious bias infiltrate our language in handover/documentation, so that we don’t inadvertently adversely affect the work of our colleagues too.
It’s easy to imagine diagnostic overshadowing (as per the excerpt above) leading to biased documentation, leading to a cascade of bias, resulting in empathy failure and poor outcomes for the patient.
That’s what my version of the distracted boyfriend meme is about.
It’s easy to be distracted from current problems, symptoms or pathology by biased documentation or past history.
Easy, but not cool.
Don’t be that guy.
Martin, K., Bickle, K. & Lok, J. (2022), Investigating the impact of cognitive bias in nursing documentation on decision-making and judgement. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. doi.org/10.1111/inm.12997
Searby, A., Burr, D., James, R. & Maude, P. (2022), Service integration: The perspective of Australian alcohol and other drug (AOD) nurses. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. doi.org/10.1111/inm.12998
That’s it. As always, please feel free to leave feedback via the comments section below.
Self Compassion is defined as “…being empathetic and understanding towards oneself, as you might to a close friend in times of suffering” (Aggar et al, 2022).
I’m using self compassion as a nuanced but important update to previous presentations and blog posts on the theme of self care. Why? Because self-compassion is a better fit for nurses, I reckon. As Mills, Wand & Fraser (2015) say, “…it could be argued that nursing care is synonymous with compassion.” That’s most-often compassion for others, not always each-other or our selves.
The way I see it, self care is about the tasks and strategies we use to avoid burnout. Self compassion is more of an attitude or mindset that goes beyond burnout prevention, and shifts towards making sure that we are as kind and nurturing to ourselves as we’re expected to be to our patients.
In this iteration of an annually updated presentation aimed mostly, but not exclusively, at new Graduate Registered Nurses I want to put emphasis on self compassion as a valid and sensible priority. We don’t want new grads to just survive their first year, we want them to learn, enjoy their work, and grow.
Part 2: Prezi
It’s handy to have a way where you can quickly and easily find and share presentations. PowerPoint presentations are so last century. The face-to-face presentation uses this Prezi: prezi.com/view/wsTTDmVzAJOSRpqDXs2I/
Part 3: References & Further Reading
This must be the 6th or 7th iteration of a theme I’ve been banging-on about for over a decade, so I’m recycling and repurposing a lot of old ideas here. Because of that iterative process the list below is ridiculously and embarrassingly self-referential. Please don’t think of it as self-plagiarism. Think of it as a fresh new remix of a favourite old song. 🙂
Aggar, C., Samios, C., Penman, O., Whiteing, N., Massey, D., Rafferty, R., Bowen, K. & Stephens, A. (2022), The impact of COVID-19 pandemic-related stress experienced by Australian nurses. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 31(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12938
Chen, R., Sun, C., Chen, J.‐J., Jen, H.‐J., Kang, X.L., Kao, C.‐C. & Chou, K.‐R. (2020), A Large‐Scale Survey on Trauma, Burnout, and Posttraumatic Growth among Nurses during the COVID‐19 Pandemic. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. doi.org/10.1111/inm.12796
Mills, J., Wand, T. & Fraser, J. (2015) On self-compassion and self-care in nursing: selfish or essential for compassionate care? International Journal of Nursing Studies. 52(4). doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.10.009.
Nurse & Midwife Support nmsupport.org.au phone 1800 667 877 targeted 24/7 confidential support available for nurse, midwives, AINs and students
Nurses, Midwives, Medical Practitioners, Suicide and Stigma (re the alarming toll of those who undertake emotional labour) meta4RN.com/stigma
Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance (a reframing of reducing aggression) meta4RN.com/zero
Part 4: Video Presentation
At time of writing it looks like we are going to have another uptick in COVID-19 presentations (see above). Bugger. I won’t pretend to know how that will affect our local hospital and/or face-to-face and group learning. It will be handy to have a YouTube version of the otherwise interactive face-to-face presentation on hand just in case we revert to crisis-response mode like we did in January/February 2022 [more info about that here and here].
Part 5: End Notes
Thanks for visiting.
As always, feedback is welcomed via the comments section below.
There isn’t much in the way of surf in Cairns because the Great Barrier Reef is – ahem – a great barrier. Nevertheless, this year heaps of people who live and work in Cairns showed how skilled they are at big-wave-surfing.
The Queensland borders did not open until Monday 13 December 2021. This allowed every adult who wanted to get vaccinated the opportunity to do so. Comparing what happened locally to what’s happened elsewhere around the world, it’s clear that having more than 90% of the adult population with some vaccination coverage before opening the borders made a huge difference to how high and long the Cairns omicron wave has been.
In Cairns our COVID-19 omicron wave started slowly. There was just a trickle of COVID-19 positive people who required hospitalisation either side of Christmas 2021. From early in the New Year the omicron wave behaved more like a tsunami. The wave came in much faster and was much larger than most of us had anticipated. It was pretty scary. Two thirds of the way through January some of us were worried about drowning. At that stage we had three wards 100% dedicated to caring for COVID positive patients, plus a smattering of positive people in other wards and in ICU.
Much to our relief the wave crested and crashed nearly as quickly as it arrived. At the end of the first week of February we still had three COVID-dedicated wards, but they weren’t quite as full or as intense as the week before. A week later we were down to one ward 100% dedicated to COVID. A week after that we had zero wards 100% dedicated to COVID; positive patients were being nursed in negative-pressure rooms as per pre-pandemic practice. Amazing.
In Queensland, especially in Cairns, we know we’ve been very fortunate compared to many people and places in the world, but that doesn’t diminish the admiration I have for all the big-wave-surfers at work. Don’t forget, as argued previously [here] , they are NOT heroes – they are health professionals. Heroes tend to be blokes who are big, boofy and fictional. People in the hospital working with COVID patients are mostly women who are not-big, not-boofy and they are real lanyard-and-PPE-wearing nurses, ward clerks, cleaners, wardies, physios, doctors, specchies, OTs, security and catering peeps.
Despite the lack of practice we have with waves in Cairns there are heaps of really good big-wave-surfers here. This is evidenced by how gracefully and expertly they surfed the omicron wave. 🏄♀️
Not All Good News
It would be disrespectful not to acknowledge that it’s not an entirely good news story. The wave has diminished in size and strength, but has not disappeared yet. Also, some of the people who were hospitalised with COVID during this period have a very slow, difficult pathway towards recovery. Poignantly, twenty seven local people did not survive COVID during this period. Their families and friends are in our thoughts.
Data Sources: The hospital/ICU numbers were released every few days via internal “Team Brief” emails and/or via social media – these were the sources of the data used to create the chart above.
Thanks for reading. If you know someone who has surfed that omicron wave I’d be grateful if you make sure they get to see their portrait above. 🙂 🏄♀️
As always, feedback is welcome in the comments section below.
Jyra Ayita Blake-Waller CSC Conspicious Service Cross (CSC) Australian Army For outstanding achievement as a Nursing Officer deployed with Joint Task Unit 629.2.3 Health Support Unit 1 during Operation COVID-19 ASSIST.
Captain Blake-Waller’s meritorious achievement as a Nursing Officer delivered lifesaving care to vulnerable Australians at the Epping Gardens Aged Care Facility during Operation COVID- 19 ASSIST. Her exemplary and selfless leadership established control of a highly contaminated environment in dire circumstances. Her compassion and devotion to duty delivered outstanding support during Victoria’s second wave and contributed to the community’s confidence in the State Government’s response.
Cathy Chye Yah Chong AM Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia Kensington Gardens, South Australia For significant service to multiculturalism in South Australia, and to the community. Multicultural Promotion and Advocacy – Board Member, Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation, since 2018. – Founding Ambassador, OZAsia Festival, since 2007. – Founder and President, Sukeenang South Australian Hainan Association, current. – Member, Women’s Advisory Committee, South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission, 2010-2015. – Deputy Chair, Multicultural Festival of South Australia, 2010-2015. – President, Chinatown Adelaide South Australia, 2010-2012. Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia – Executive Board Member, 2005-2017. – Former Chair, Women’s Sub-Committee. Chinese Welfare Services South Australia – President, 2011-2015, since 2019. – Treasurer, 2015. Rotary Club of Adelaide Central (Amalgamated with Adelaide West in 2019) – President, 2017-2018. – Chair, Youth Services, since 2018. – Board Member, since 2014. – Member, since 2012. Rotary International – Member, since 2013. Community Other – Member, Asia Pacific Business Council For Women South Australia, 2013-2014. – Member, Volunteer Ministerial Advisory Group, South Australian Minister for Small Business, 2008-2013. – Member, Alumni of University of South Australia Volunteer Group, 1998-2004. – Justice of the Peace, since 2011. BreastScreen SA – Member Review Steering Committee, 2010-2016. – Member, State Accreditation Committee, 2013-2015. – Chair, Consumer Advisory, 2013-2014. – Member, Consumer Advisory, 2010-2014. – Former Member, Digital Implementation Review Group. – Former Member, Digital Breastscreen Implementation. Health Other – Member, Stakeholder Reference Group, Health Connect, 2008-2016. – Associate Fellow, Australian College of Health Service Management, 2000. – Registered Nurse, Royal Adelaide Hospital, 1969-1972. – Former Director of Nursing, Flinders Medical Centre, Government of South Australia. – Former Member, Alzheimer’s Consumer Alliance South Australia, Health Consumer Research Partnership. Awards and recognition include: – Outstanding Individual Achievement Award, Governor’s Multicultural Awards, Government of South Australia, 2019. – Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary Club of Adelaide Central.
Nathalie Carmen Cook OAM Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division Balwyn North, Victoria For service to dietetics.
Victorian Aboriginal Health Service – Telehealth Dietitian, since 2020. Banyule Community Health – Developer, Eat Well, Play Well, since 2006. – Paediatric and Adult Dietitian, since 2005. Community Health – Other – Consumer Representative and Presenter at conferences, Leukaemia Foundation, since 2011. – Founding Member and Advocate, MPN Alliance Australia, since 2011. – Member Consumer Representative Panel, Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group, 2016 to 2021. – Consumer Representative, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, since 2020. – Consumer Representative, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, since 2020. – Consumer Representative, Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, since 2018. – Consumer Representative, University of Western Australia, since 2018. – Consumer Advocate for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Listing of Pegylated INTERFERON, 2011-2018. Dietetics and Nutrition – Paediatric Dietitian, Northern Paediatric Clinic, Bundoora, 2015-2017. – Clinical Dietitian, Austin Hospital, 2004-2006. – Consultant Dietitian, Wintringham Housing, 1999-2012. – Clinical Dietitian, Mater Hospital, Brisbane, 1999-2000. – Clinical Dietitian, Western Hospital, Footscray, 1997-1998. – Clinical Dietitian, Methodist Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, 1996-1997. – HIV/AIDS Dietitian and Nutritionist, Nelson-Tebedo Community Clinic, Dallas, Texas, 1996. – Member, Dietitian Australia, since 1994. Nursing – Registered Nurse, Balmain Hospital, 1994-1995. – Registered Nurse, Calvary Hospital, Canberra, 1992-1994. – Nurse, Calvary Hospital, Adelaide, 1990-1992. – Nurse, Caritas Christi Hospice, 1989-1990. – Nurse, Melbourne Pathology Services, 1987-1989. – Nurse, St Georges Hospital Melbourne, 1985-1987. – Student Nurse, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, 1984-1985.
Helen Rosemary Crowe AM Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia Armadale, Victoria For significant service to urology and oncology nursing, and to professional societies.
Australian Prostate Centre – Urology Nurse Practitioner, since 2015. – Clinical Supervisor, Urology and Prostate Cancer Nursing Fellowship Program, since 2015. Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia – Coordinator, Prostate Care Nurses Induction Program, PCFA, 2017-2019. – Member, Nursing Working Party, 2009. – Grant Reviewer, since 2008. Research – Urology Research Nurse, Australian Prostate Centre, Epworth Melbourne, 2009- 2018. – Honorary Urology Research Nurse, Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, since 1999. – Urology Research Nurse, Department of Urology, St Vincent’s Hospital, 1992-1999. Urology – Urology Nurse Consultant, Cancer Helpline, Cancer Council Victoria, 1999-2010. – Developed Abbvie Online Sexual Health in Men with Prostate Cancer Program for urology nurses, 2018. – Chair, Australian Zometa Urology Nurses Advisory Board, 2004-2007. – Urology Nurse Practitioner, private urology practice, since 2008, and Urology Nurse Clinician, 1992-2007. – Accredited External Nurse Consultant, Epworth Hospital, Melbourne, 1997-2019. – Various other nursing roles, 1974-1992. Education – Tutor, Male Catheterisation, 5th Year Medical Students, University of Melbourne, 2002-2009. – Lecturer, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, 2002-2008. Australia and New Zealand Urological Nurses Society – Treasurer, 1996-1998. – Victorian Representative, 1998-2003. – Founding Member, 1995. Victorian Urological Nurses Society – Chair, 1993-1997. – Secretary, 1998-2003. – Founding Member, 1993. Awards and recognition include: – Honorary Life Member, Victorian Urological Nursing Society.
Mary Duffy AM Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia Bentleigh, Victoria For significant service to medicine in the field of lung cancer.
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre – Clinical Lung Cancer Specialist Nurse, since 1990’s. – Fundraiser, the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers Event, 2015. Lung Foundation Australia – Member, Lung Cancer Consultative Group. – Member, Lung Cancer Conference Organising Committee, 2019. International Thoracic Oncology Nursing Forum – Founding Member, since 2009. – Member, Steering Committee, since 2009. Lung Cancer Advocacy Other – Inaugural Chairperson, Australia and New Zealand Lung Cancer Nurses Forum, 2010-2020. – Member, Lung Cancer Advisory Group, Cancer Australia, 2013-2016. – Former Member, Kylie Johnston Lung Cancer Network. Lung Cancer Research – Presenter, Lectureship Award for Nurses and Allied Health Professionals, International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, 2020. – Research / Presentation, Patients receiving radiation therapy, Barcelona, Spain, 2005.
Maxine Duke AM Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia Victoria For significant service to education, to nursing, and to professional associations.
Deakin University – Emeritus Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, since 2020. – Interim Executive Dean, Faculty of Health, 2019-2020. – Alfred Deakin Professor, 2016-2019. – Chair, Nursing Development, 2007-2019. – Director, Quality and Patient Safety Strategic Research Centre, 2014-2019. – Head, School of Nursing and Midwifery, 2007-2018. – Deputy Executive Dean – Health, Faculty of Health, 2012-2018. – Associate Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery and Coordinator of the Higher Degree Research Program, 2002-2007. – Former Chair, Faculty Marketing Advisory Group. – Former Chair, Student General Misconduct Committee (Health). – Former Member, Barwon Health Advisory Committee. – Former Member, Cabrini Advisory Committee. – Former Member, Epworth Nursing Research Centre Advisory Committee. – Former Member, Southern Health Advisory Committee. – Former Member, Barwon Health-Deakin University Liaison Committee. – Former Member, Epworth HealthCare-Deakin University Steering Committee. – Former Member, Academic Probation Appeal Committee. – Former Member, Academic Promotions Committee. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council – Member, Nurse Practitioner Accreditation Committee, 2012-2019. – Reviewer, Undergraduate Course Accreditation. Committee and Advisory roles – Board Member, Victorian Board, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, since 2019. – Board Member, Nurses Memorial Centre, since 2018. – Former Board Member, Australian Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery. – ‘Death over Dinner’ End Life Care Ambassador. – Former Member, National Clinical Specifications Committee, Health Workforce Australia. – Former Member, Nursing and Midwifery Education Planning Group, Victorian Department of Health. – Former Member, Cabrini and Deakin Educating Together (CADET). – Former Member, Collaborative Clinical Education Epworth Deakin (CCEED). – Former Member, Clinical Placement Fee Implementation Advisory Group, Department of Health and Human Services. – Former Member, Safety Innovations in Practice Program Mk 11 Steering Committee, Epworth Health. = Former Member, Royal College of Nursing, Box Hill Hospital and St. Vincent’s Hospital Conference Committee. – Former Member, Rural Nurses Scholarship Committee. – Former Member, Southern Health Clinical Placement Network. – Former Member, Western Health Education and Research Partnership Committee. La Trobe University – Former Director of Studies (undergraduate and postgraduate). – Former Clinical Education Coordinator, Nursing Courses. – Former Lecturer, School of Nursing. Publications – Co-authored over 40 peer reviewed journal articles and six chapters in text books.
Valerie Fay Fewster OAM Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division Berri, South Australia For service to community health.
Community Response to Eliminating Suicide, Riverland Community Network – Chair, Steering Committee, since 2012 with CORES program ( community response to eliminating suicide). – Workshop Facilitator, Suicide Prevention Program, since 2012. – Volunteer Educator, Riverland Community Suicide Prevention Network, since 2015. Friends of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide – State Council Representative, Chairman, Region 6 (Riverland), since 2014. – President Local (Berri) Friends Auxiliary for 12 year at various times. – Volunteer, Berri Friends Auxiliary, since 1995. – Life Membership, 2021. Health – Registered Nurse, working for community District Nursing, 1980-1985. – Volunteer/Counsellor/Community Educator, Australian Breastfeeding Association, since 1979. – Former Registered Nurse and Midwife with Child and Family Health Services, 1985 to 2014. – Manager, Country North Child and Family Health Team, 1996 and relief manager, 2001-2002. – Managed and trained Child and Family Health Volunteers in the community to work with families in their homes or clinic, for 15 years. – Supported and educated new mothers and toddlers, Gerard aboriginal community, for 20 years. Community – Other – Member, Zona Club of the Riverland, for 6 years. – Former Committee Member, Remark Rose Festival. – Volunteer, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Berri Conference, since 1986. – Chairperson, Catholic Women’s League, current and volunteer member, since 1975, including as Secretary. – Volunteer, Meals On Wheels, 7 years. – Volunteer, (supper rounds for patients), Riverland Regional Hospital, 6 years. – Volunteer, St Mary’s Catholic Parish, co-ordinating and taking communion to elderly parishioners in their homes, 6 years. Awards and recognition Include: – Community Services Award, Zona Club of the Riverland, 2020. – Community Services Award for role in Child Health Community Nursing, 2002. – Life Membership, Berri Hockey Club Services, 1981. – Certificate of Appreciation, Australian Breastfeeding Association, for 40 years service as a counsellor and educator, 2019. – Life Membership, Friends Women’s and Children’s Hospital, for 27 years service, 2021.
Sandra Louise Grieve OAM Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division Guys Forest, Victoria For service to community health.
Walwa Bush Nursing Centre – Chief Executive Officer, since 2003. – Remote Area Nurse, current. – Nurse Practitioner, since 2006. – Providing community health services, since 1989.
Jill Iliffe AM Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia Victoria For significant service to nursing through leadership roles with professional organisations.
Professional Nursing Associations – Executive Director, Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation, since 2008. – Federal Secretary, Australian Nursing Federation, 1999-2008. New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Federation – Manager, Professional Services, 1996-1999. – Professional Development Officer, 1992-1996. – Councillor, 1985-1989. – Member, Finance Committee, 1987. – Elected Trustee, 1990-1991. – Nurse, since 1978. Other – Former Chair, COTA Australia.
Alice Guay Kang OAM Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division New South Wales For service to veterans, and to community health.
Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway – Honorary Secretary and Treasurer, since 1995. – Board Member, since 1998. – Founding Member. – Foundation Director, The Friends of Kokoda Association. Concord Hospital – Director, Marketing and Community Relations, 2013-2020. – Manager, Marketing and Veteran’s Services, 2001-2013. – Manager, Veteran’s Liaison Services, 1997-2001. – Executive Officer, General Managers Unit, 1993-1996. – Assistant Director, Nursing Bed Management 1989 – 1991 – Assistant Director, Nursing Critical Care Unit, 1984-1988. – Charge Nurse, 1982-1984. – Nurse, 1974-1982. Awards and Recognition include: – Citizen of the Year, City of Canada Bay, 2017. – Certificate of Merit, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 2016. – Drummoyne Woman of the Year, 2015. – Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary Club of Concord – Pride of Workmanship Award, Rotary Club of Five Dock, 2012. – Pride of Workmanship Award, Rotary Club of Concord, 2009. – New South Wales Premier’s Public Sector Award, Community Development, Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway, 2005. – Centenary Medal, 2001
Pamela Hope Mam AM Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia Late of Hammond Island, Queensland For significant service to the Indigenous community of Queensland through nursing.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service, Brisbane – Co-Founder, 1973. – Former Nurse/Manager. – Facilities Manager, Jimbelunga Nursing Home, 1994-2008. – Life Member. Other – Patron, Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, 2009-2020. – Former Registerd Nurse and Midwife. Awards and recognition include: – Honorary Doctorate, Griffith University, 2018. – The Aunty Pamela Mam Indigenous Nursing Scholarship (named in honour), Griffith University, 2015. – Hall of Fame Inductee for leadership and commitment to improving health, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, 2008.
Maxine Veronica Morand AM Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia Victoria For significant service to the Parliament of Victoria, and to community health.
Parliament of Victoria – Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development and Minister for Womens Affairs, 2007-2010. – Member for Mount Waverley, 2002-2010. – Ministerial Advisor, Minister for Health, 2000-2002. Professional Health – Chief Executive Officer, Breast Cancer Network Australia, 2011-2014. – Research Scientist, Centre for Behavioural Research, Cancer Council Victoria, 1996- 2000. – Victorian Transport Coordinator, Austin Health, 1985-1990. – Senior Staff Nurse, Melbourne Health, 1982-1985. Governance – Chair, Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board, 2018 to 2021. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre – Board Chair, since 2015. – Chair, Remuneration Committee, current. – Member, Research Committee, current. – Director, Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation, since 2018. Community Health – Board Member, Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes, since 2019. – Member, Breast Cancer Advisory Group, Cancer Australia, 2012-2014. – Professorial Fellow, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, since 2016. – Director, Inner East Community Health Service (now Access Health and Community), 2015-2017. – Board Member, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 2003-2006. Community – Patron, Victorian Women’s Football League, 2007-2010. Awards and recognition include: – Inductee, Victorian Honour Roll of Women, 2020.
Lesley Murphy OAM Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division Beaconsfield, Western Australia For service to community health.
Muscular Dystrophy Western Australia – Board Member, 2006-2011. – Community Services Coordinator, 2009-2012. – Life Member, 2014. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – Advocate/Fundraiser, 22 years. – Advocate, Duchenne Disease Register, Department of Health, Western Australia. Rare Diseases – Co-Founder and Founding Secretary, Rare Voices Australia, 2011-2016. – Former Member, National Rare Diseases Working Group; Neuromuscular Diseases Advisory Group. – Former Board Member, Muscular Dystrophy Australia. – Member, Organising Committee, Australian Rare Diseases Symposium, 2010-2011. Health and Disability – Former Secretary and Member, Western Electric Sporting Association, 2000. – Member, Human Genetics Advisory Committee, National Health andMedical Research Council, 2012. – Supporter, Every Australian Counts Campaign. Other – Volunteer Ambulance Driver, St John Ambulance, Denmark WA, since 2019. – Primary School Teacher, 1993-2005. – President and Committee Member, P&C Committee, Willagee Primary School, 1990- 1993. – Founding Committee Member and President, Defence Childcare Centre, Swanbourne WA, 1978-1988. – Registered Nurse and Midwife, 1977-1986.
Peter Frederick Mulholland ASM Ambulance Service Medal (ASM) Windermere, Tasmania
In 1986, Mr Peter Mulholland commenced with the Metropolitan Ambulance Service in Victoria as a Paramedic, before commencing his employment with Ambulance Tasmania in 1994, where he contributed to several Ambulance Tasmania positions, projects and initiatives. During his thirty-five-year career, Mr Mulholland has completed education to support ongoing clinical leadership and capability roles. He has attained a Certificate in General nursing, Station Officer Certificate, Air Ambulance Flight Paramedic qualification, a Master in Medical Science and PhD. He also completed a degree in Psychology and was a member of the Critical Incident Stress management team, attending the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. In 1997, he was awarded ‘Individual Excellence in Ambulance Practice’ by the Northern Region of Ambulance Tasmania. Dedicated to improving Ambulance Service models, Mr Mulholland was involved in the Tasmanian branch of a nationwide research program, examining the practice of rural and regional paramedics. As a result of his research and contributions, he was invited to speak alongside program coordinators at the World Organisation of Family Doctors Conference in Seattle, United States of America. In 2013, Mr Mulholland commenced as the Project Manager for the pilot of the Extended Care Paramedics within Ambulance Tasmania, where he was instrumental in implementing and managing the Extended Care Paramedic pilot which led to the adoption of Extended Care Paramedic roles within Ambulance Tasmania. In 2019, in his Branch Station Officer role for Ambulance Tasmania he completed his PhD on inter-professional learning and rural paramedic practice. His Master of Medical Sciences and PhD have since informed the practice of rural paramedics. He has presented at various national and international conferences, and contributed to numerous published works. Mr Mulholland’s extensive career and ongoing dedication to support and strengthen the paramedicine field and community, make him an honourable recipient of the Australian Ambulance Service Medal.
Carmel Bernadette O’Brien OAM Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division Barongarook, Victoria For service to nursing.
Nursing – Assistant Director of Nursing, Colac Hospital. – Registered Nurse, Colac Hospital, since 1988. – Registered Nurse, in a range of locations including Galiwin’ku 2021, 2020, Kalkaringe, 2019; Wave Hill, 2019; Ardyaloon, 2018 ; Kalumbaru, 2018; Torres Strait: Badu, Bamaga and Mer, 2015, 2016 ; Imampa, 2015 and Alice Springs 2014. – Lactation Consultant, Breast Feeding Association, 7 years. Country Fire Authority, Victoria – Volunteer, Barongarook Rural Fire Brigade, Country Fire Authority, since 2007. – 10 Year Service Medal, 2017. The Portsea Camp – Volunteer Nurse, since 1994. Associations – Member, College of Emergency Nursing. – Member, Council of Remote Area Nurses Australia. – Member, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.
Jan Elizabeth Phillips AM Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia Deua River Valley, New South Wales For significant service to palliative care and oncology nursing.
Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network, Singapore – Palliative Care Specialist, current. – Volunteer Teacher, since 2003. – Mentor and Teacher, Hospis Malaysia, since 2003. – Member, Training of Trainers Programs – Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan since 2012. Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Pakistan – Facilitator, Palliative Care Training and establishment of SKMCH Palliative Care Service. – Clinical Support Nurse – Oncology and Palliative Care, 1998-2002. Rachel House, Jakarta, Indonesia – Mentor and Teacher, since 2009. – Volunteer, since 2009. Moruya Oncology and Palliative Care Service – Nursing Team Member, 1989 – 1998. – Eurobodalla Breast Cancer Support Service Co-ordinator, 1994 – 1998. – Justice of the Peace, 1991 – 1998. Professional Associations – Fellow, Australian College of Nursing. – International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care – Traveling Fellow 2003. – Palliative Care Nurses Australia.
Heather Spence OAM Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division Cohuna, Victoria For service to nursing.
Cohuna District Hospital – Nurse Practitioner, Acute and Supportive Care and Primary Care, since 2018 (Chancellors commendation) – Postgraduate in Prescribing for Midwives, 2018. – Victorian Cervical Screening Provider, 2018. – Accredited Nurse Immuniser, since 2000. – Clinical Nurse Educator, current. – TAFE Educator of Medicines and Intravenous Therapy, 2019-2020. – Associate Nurse Unit Manager, 2003-current. – Radiology licence – Rural and Remote X-ray operator, 2016. – ALS, BLS and Neonatal resuscitation Accreditor, current. – Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, 2007. – Past Nurse Unit Manager. – Registered Nurse, since 1985. – Registered Midwife, since 1988.
Merridy Gaye Thompson OAM Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division Casula, New South Wales For service to youth through the Australian Air Force Cadets.
3 Wing Australian Air Force Cadets – Officer Commanding, since 2020. – Staff Officer Training, 2017-2020. – Cadet Representative Group Mentor, current. – Officer in Charge, Cadet Promotion Courses, over 30 occasions. – Former Staff Officer Management Services – Former Finance Accounting Officer – Former Public Affairs Officer. – Former Executive Officer. 322 (City of Ryde) Squadron, Australian Air Force Cadets – Commanding Officer, 1995-2020. Headquarters Australian Air Force Cadets – Chief of Staff, 80th Anniversary Project, since 2020. Australian Air Force Cadets Other – Instructor of Cadets, since 1988. – Former Cadet, No 7 Flight (City of Bankstown). – Former Instructor, No 22 Flight West Ryde. Professional – Senior Workforce Educator, Leadership and Management, South Western Local Health District, since 2019. – Workforce Development Consultant, Sydney South West Area Health Service, 2015- 2019. – Nurse Educator, Australian College of Nursing, 2010-2015. – Nursing Officer, RAAF Specialist Reserve, current. Awards and Recognition include: – Commander, Australian Air Force Cadets Commendation, 2008. – Officer Commanding 3 Wing Australian Air Force Cadets Commendation, 2005. – Australia Day Medallion, 2012.
Marianne Clare Wallis AM Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia Gold Coast, Queensland For significant service to tertiary education, to nursing, and to research.
University of the Sunshine Coast – Emeritus Professor of Nursing, since 2020. – Adjunct Professor of Nursing, since 2020. – Former Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation). – Professor, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, 2013-2019. – Associate Dean of Health, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, 2017-2018. – Deputy Head of School, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, 2018-2019. – Deputy Chair and Member, Research Committee, 2013-2019. Southern Cross University – Director of Research and Associate Dean of Health Research, School of Health and Human Sciences, since 2020. Griffith University – Adjunct Professor, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, since 2014. – Professor, 2012-2014. – Foundation Chair, Clinical Nursing Research, 2000-2011. – Chief Investigator, National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre for Excellence in Nursing Interventions for Hospitalised Patient, 2010-2015. – Chair, Bachelor of Nursing Curriculum Development Committee, School of Nursing and Midwifery, 2009-2010. – Program Leader, Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Practice, Centre for Clinical Practice Innovation, 2003-2006. – Dean of Health’s nominee, School of Medicine Committee, 2005-2009. – Member, Postgraduate Courses Review Committee, Faculty of Nursing and Health, 2000-2014. – Member, Curriculum Discussion Group, Medical School, 2003-2004. Professional – Other – Director and Member, Devices and Therapies Group, Alliance for Vascular Access Training and Research Group, 2007-2017. Australian Catholic University, Sydney – Member, Research Projects Ethics Committee, 1999-2000, – Senior Lecturer, 1997-2000. – Coordinator Postgraduate Nursing Courses, 1993-1996. – Lecturer, 1989-1997. – Member, Research and Research Degrees Committee, Faculty of Health Sciences, 1999-2000. – Member, Master and Doctoral Courses Development Committee, 1998-1999. – Chair, Postgraduate Standing Committee, School of Nursing, 1993-1996. – Chair, Graduate Diplomas in Acute Care Nursing Working Party, School of Nursing and Human Movement 1993-1995. – Member, Research Committee, School of Education, 1993-1996. – Member, Research Ethics Committee, 1992-1994. – Member, Consultancies and Publications Committee, School of Education Research, 1996-1999. Queensland Health – Member, Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Committee, 2009-2011. – Chair, Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Committee, 2007-2009. – Member, Research and Evidence-Based Practice Sub-Committee, Peak Nursing Body, 2004-2006. Gold Coast Health Service District – Chair, Nursing Research Committee, 2008-2011. – Member, Integrated Mental Health Service Research Committee, 2000-2002. Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service – Visiting Nursing Research Fellow, 2000-2011. – Chair and Member, Nursing and Midwifery Research Committee, mid-2010s. – Member, Research Committee, 2013-2016. Committee and advisory roles – Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, Queensland Emergency Medicine Research Foundation, 2015-2020. – Board Member, Academic Liaison, Australian Vascular Access Society, 2015-2017. – Chair, Research Sub-Committee, Deans of Nursing of Australia Committee, 2002. – Member, Nursing Research Committee, St Vincent’s Campus, 1997-2000. – Member, Nursing Research Committee, St George Hospital, 1995-1997. Health – Other – Health Education Specialist, Health Ventures, 2011-2013. – Inaugural Visiting Nursing Research Fellow, St Vincent’s Health Care Campus, Sydney, 1997-2000. – Registered Nurse, since 1982. Charity – Volunteer, Sunny Street, 2018-2020. Editorial and Publications – Member, Editorial Review Panels for thefollowing publications: BMC Nursing; Collegian; Contemporary Nurse; Geriatric Nursing; International Journal of Nursing Practice; International Journal of Nursing Studies; and Journal of Advanced Nursing. – Author and Contributor, over 200 scientific publications. Member and Fellowships – Fellow, Australian College of Nursing. – Past Member, Australian College of Critical Care Nurses. – Past Member, Australian College for Infection Prevention and Control. Awards and recognition include: – Best Poster Prize, The CEDRiC Project: Care Coordination Through Emergency Department, Residential Aged Care Facility And Primary Health Collaboration, 41st International Healthcare Foundation World Congress. 2017. – Queensland Premier’s Award for Customer Focus, the Geriatric Emergency Department Intervention, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service and the University of the Sunshine Coast, 2016.
I’ve been doing this blog post to celebrate nurses/nursing every Australia Day since 2015 (see meta4RN.com/?s=Australia+Day), but this will be the last year for me (see “Beginning of the End“). Why don’t you take over the job next year? As per the methodology above, it’s a pretty easy way to attract a couple of thousand hits in about 48 hours. More importantly, you will help spotlight achievements of nurses without resorting to those cringeworthy hero tropes (see “Batman is a hero. I am a health professional.“).
Change The Date
As I’ve argued since 1994 (see meta4RN.com/changethedate) it’s great that we celebrate the stuff and people that make Australia a good place to live, but it’s ridiculous to do so on 26 January each year.
Please let me know via the comments section below if I missed any Nurses on the 2022 Australia Day Honours List. Naturally, I’m happy to correct any oversights.
I really like my iPhone. I’ve owned three smartphones – they’ve all been iPhones. I know the iPhone operating system so well that I can work that elegant little machine one-handed in my sleep. Give me any other phone operating system and I will turn into a slow and clumsy boofhead: nothing falls to hand, nothing is intuitive, nothing looks the same.
If I use my iPhone I’m proficient and confident. If I’m handed anything that’s not an iPhone I’m plodding and anxious.
It’s been like that at work this week.
Queensland is one of the rare places in the world that pretty-much eliminated the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly 2 years. That gave time for every adult Queenslander to receive at least two doses of the vaccine, if they wanted to, before the borders opened and the virus arrived. Baseline data here: meta4RN.com/baseline
As a reminder, Queensland border restrictions have been reduced in steps starting Monday 13 December 2021. Less than a month ago.
What an amazing three-and-a-bit weeks it’s been! As at 13 December 2021 Queensland had accumulated 2176 COVID-19 cases in the 22 months since the start of the pandemic. In less than 4 weeks that number has grown to more than 66,000 [source]. Exponential af. 😳
We all knew a significant rise in cases was coming, but most of us are shocked by how quick and large the explosion has been.
Yes, there was lots of preparation in the lead-up, but it’s been like switching phones/operating systems. Suddenly we’re doing stuff we’re not familiar with yet: nothing falls to hand, nothing is intuitive, nothing looks the same.
We will adapt, of course, but it is understandable that it might take us a little more time. We are comforted to know that we’re not the only service that is struggling. That confirms that we’re not finding things difficult and stressy because we’re a bunch of boofheads. We’re finding things difficult and stressy because we’re in the guts of a crisis.
Put simply, psychological first aid is a humane, supportive response to a fellow human who needs a hand. Psychological first aid doesn’t require expertise or qualifications, it requires the motivation and capacity to pitch-in to promote calmness, safety, efficacy, connectedness and hope.
Once upon a time (1993-1994), I had an excellent idea on how to tackle structural corporate nurse stereotyping.
Here is the story:
Part One: The Concept (letter & illustration, 22/11/1993)
22nd November 1993
The Manager Uni Foods Pty Ltd
I am a habitual, albeit irregular, user of Nurses Cornflour – it is a product that enjoys vegemite-like status in the kitchen. Indeed, I believe that most Australians would consider their cupboard bare without both of these culinary icons.
However, I can not help but notice that the packaging of your fine product is outdated in style, and at risk of being construed as a sexist portrayal of who is responsible for cooking and nursing. In these politically correct times, the packaging of any product requires a considered, sensitive approach, so as not to offend. It may well be that sales of Nurses Cornflour are being adversely affected by the packet’s picture of a pretty sponge-holding nurse wearing a cap.
As a male, as a nurse, as an occasional sauce and gravy maker, and as a person who is becoming attuned to the politically correct ideals of the 1990’s, I believe I am well qualified for the position of Nurses Cornflour model/promoter. I have enclosed, for your consideration, a crude facsimile of how my face could be used to lend Nurses Cornflour a more contemporary, less sexist, image.
I look forward to your response to this proposal.
Yours sincerely, Paul McNamara RGN SPN MRCNA
Part Two: The Follow-Up (letter, 15/02/1994)
15th February 1994
The Manager Uni Foods Pty Ltd
I have yet to receive a reply to my letter of 22nd November 1993 (copy enclosed). No doubt, like me, you have been giving this matter some serious consideration over the last few months.
I am sure you would agree that this presents an exciting opportunity to give the image of Nurses Cornflour a profile that will have it being talked about in kitchens and advertising boardrooms all over Australia. Any notoriety I might receive would take a back seat to the sales figures of Nurses Cornflour: it is the latter that should take precedence when considering this matter.
As before, I look forward to your response to this proposal.
Yours semi-sincerely, Paul McNamara RGN SPN MRCNA
Part Three: The Gentle Let-Down (reply letter, 15/03/1994)
15th March 1994
Dear Mr. McNamara,
Thank you for your letter and illustration of 22nd November 1993 and subsequent letter of 15th February 1994. Our apologies for the delay in responding to your letter.
Whilst we agree that the illustration on Nurses Cornflour could be modified to become more contemporary we respect the concerns of our loyal customers who have grown to know and love that familiar pack.
Please be assured that the packaging is in no way intended to be sexist or stereotypical.
Thus, with respect, we will not be taking up your very kind offer. However, our sincerest thanks for the time you have taken to write to us. We enclose one of our new Continental Easy Meals which we hope you enjoy.
Wishing you all the best in your career.
Regards CATHY RODDA Brand Manager – Dry Meal Bases unifoods A division of Unilever Australia Ltd
Nearly 30 years on, I reckon it’s time for someone else to have another crack at becoming the Nurses Cornflour nurse. The current version is an update from the 1936 version, yet the crisp white uniform and crisp white hat on a crisp white woman remain. 🙄
Please consider this blog post a lighthearted clarion call to challenge nurse stereotypes. Even if you’re unsuccessful, like me, you may receive a free sample in the mail for your trouble. 🙂
The twaddle and fluff above is all there is for this blog post. Stumbling across the old letters gave me a nostalgic laugh today – hopefully you have had a bit of a giggle too.
This is a December 2021 update to data presented in an August 2020 presentation and blog post called Liaison in the Time of #COVID19. It is worth doing it now, I reckon, because the borders will open in a couple of weeks, and Queensland will become one of those rare places who have had the luxury of successfully suppressing the pandemic long enough to allow the population to be vaccinated. Well, those who trust and follow the science, that is.
As noted on previous blog posts [here & here], Queensland’s population is much bigger than Australia’s smaller states/territories (which are all well-under 3 million), but falls a long way short of Australia’s two largest states (which are both well-over 6 million).
So, on population alone (ie: with cavalier disregard to geography, housing density, culture or climate) it is better to compare the 5 million-ish Queensland population to the 5 million-ish populations of Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Singapore.
Please interrogate the comparative data collated in the table below.
5 011 500
5 126 300
5 236 172
5 415 166
5 450 000
Total COVID-19 Cases
Active COVID-19 Cases
COVID-19 Cases in Hospital
COVID-19 Cases in ICU
% 1st Dose COVID-19 Vaccine
% 2nd Dose COVID-19 Vaccine
Data as @ 01/12/21 * = number not reported online  vaccine % of eligible people (ie: 12yo +)
I do not take my good fortune of living and working in Queensland for the last two years for granted.
It is important to reinforce the obvious: this data comparison is not some sort of macabre competition. The death stats alone remind us that COVID-19 is not a game – as of 01/12/21 WHO report 262,178,403 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 5,215,745 deaths. On a brighter note, WHO report that as of 28 November 2021 a total of 7,772,799,316 vaccine doses have been administered.
Think Global. Act Local.
Now, let’s look at how we have been faring in FNQ.
As of 01/12/21 Cairns and Hinterland has had 75 COVID-19 cases (none currently), and no deaths . We have been incredibly fortunate.
As of 01/12/21 over 177 000 vaccine doses have been administered in Cairns and Hinterland [source], but there is a bit of variation between the local government areas – as below [source]:
% 1st Dose COVID-19 Vaccine
% 2nd Dose COVID-19 Vaccine
Cassowary Coast (Innisfail)
FNQ vaccination rates of people aged 15+ as @ 28/11/21
I don’t have the qualifications to tell you what all this data means. I certainly don’t have the skills or qualifications to use it to predict future data.
However, I do have the skills to collate and report data from reliable sources.
I intend to revisit this data before I shut down the meta4RN blog in September 2022, and compare how we fare after the borders open compared to the December 2021 baseline data collated above.
The findings that jumped-out at me from the paper were that more experienced* nurses reported more self-compassion. Greater self-compassion resulted in: – a reduction in pandemic-related stress – less symptoms of depression and/or anxiety – greater post-traumatic growth.
That’s great, right?
The findings from the Australian survey are similar to a large-scale China survey in that post-traumatic stress for nurses during COVID-19 is offset by post-traumatic growth. Understandably, the numbers in the Australian study are less pronounced than they were in the Chinese study, reflecting the difference in the two country’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If, like me, you’re an experienced * nurse, celebrate and share your self-compassion super-power and with other nurses. This, together with the possibility that the pandemic may cause professional/personal growth to offset the stress, is very encouraging.
If you’re new-ish to nursing, be very deliberate about building-in self-compassion to your work.
People who are attracted to nursing are usually empathetic towards the needs of others. That’s great, of course, but the downside for empaths is that sometimes we put the needs of others before our needs.
That’s the pathway to burnout, my friend.
It is sensible to be intentional about self-compassion, ie: the art of being kind to yourself, and finding a workable, realistic balance between your life experiences, thoughts and feelings. Self-compassion will not dilute your empathy. It will allow you to continue in your empathetic work better for longer.
*“experienced” is probably code word for “those with grey hairs”
Aggar, C., Samios, C., Penman, O., Whiteing, N., Massey, D., Rafferty, R., Bowen, K. & Stephens, A. (2021), The impact of COVID-19 pandemic-related stress experienced by Australian nurses. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12938
Chen, R., Sun, C., Chen, J.‐J., Jen, H.‐J., Kang, X.L., Kao, C.‐C. & Chou, K.‐R. (2020), A Large‐Scale Survey on Trauma, Burnout, and Posttraumatic Growth among Nurses during the COVID‐19 Pandemic. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. doi.org/10.1111/inm.12796
Declaration of Interests
In the interests of transparency, there are three declarations to be made re this blog post: 1. I am the Social Media Editor of the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. 2. I have a bias towards promoting nurse mental wellbeing, including my own. 3. What little hair I have left is very very grey.
That’s it. If you haven’t gone out to do something fun already, maybe stay where you are and sus-out the the Aggar et al article here, and have a browse through the other IJMHN COVID-19 papers here.
Thanks for reading. As always, your feedback is welcome via the comments section below.
Yesterday I confirmed what I’ve been mulling-over for a while: I’ll retire the meta4RN blog in September 2022.
That will make a nice even ten years of nurse-blogging. I’m only a few years away from retirement, and need to start the transition. It’s time for me to use my non-work time doing more non-work stuff.
When I started the meta4RN thing I thought I’ll aim to be the most visible Australian mental health nurse on social media. I’m not sure, but I think I’ve probably achieved that. Even if I haven’t, it’s a remarkably unambitious target.
I’m amazed how many nurses – mental health nurses, in particular – self-censor themselves into silence on social media. I started the meta4RN blog in response to the prevailing “stop it or you’ll go blind” approach to social media by senior health and university people at the time. It’s incredible that nurses are the most trusted profession in Australia [source & source], are employed to go behind the curtains and help people who are having one of the worst days of their lives, but are not considered by some within our ranks not to be mature enough to go online. FFS.
I’m getting bored and tired pushing against the bricks. I’ll use the platform for the next 12 months, and then put meta4RN.com to bed. I haven’t really decided to do with the rest of the meta4RN social media portfolio yet, but I’ll work that out over the next year.
It’s an unnecessarily over-the-top list. I’ve probably overdone the effort to demonstrate that there is an avenue for nurses to promote their profession and voice, should they – like me – get exasperated at being routinely forgotten or sidelined in the public conversation.
End of ‘Beginning of the End’
Just putting it out there so when I pull up stumps next year it comes as no surprise.
If you know of someone who might be interested in the not-so-lofty title of ‘most visible Australian mental health nurse on social media’ let them know that now is a good chance to pounce. 🙂