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Dedicated health professionals saluted on International Nurses Day

Residents across North Queensland are encouraged to join communities around the world in celebrating the contribution of nurses on International Nurses Day today (12 May).

International Nurses Day commemorates the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

This year’s theme, ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead’, focuses on the changes to and innovations in nursing, especially in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and how this will ultimately shape the future of healthcare.

Natalie Hardy, a nurse at Upper Ross Medical Centre in Townsville, is a local example of how nurses are evolving and innovating to improve a patient’s health journey.

Natalie is currently helping to lead the way in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 through her vaccination and education work at the practice’s GP Respiratory Clinic.

“Through the pandemic, I’ve seen my role evolve to much more of a focus on education,” she said.

“People seem to be more at ease when I answer their questions about the COVID vaccine, and what they need know before I administer the vaccine.

“I enjoy the part of my job that is educating people around the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine and how we’re protecting each other as a community.

“Nurses have also had to adapt to the increasing use of telehealth that gives us greater flexibility in how we are able to continue to provide patients with the health care they need.”

Natalie said she had always had a passion for nursing from a very young age.

“My mum says that from about the time I was four, she always knew I was going to end up being a nurse,” Natalie said.

“I would see the nurses pull up across the road to check on elderly patients, and I would run out of my house to go and help.

“My biggest reason for being a nurse is the ongoing relationships I get to have with the patients, for example with their care plans and immunisations.

“I’ve always enjoyed being part of their whole-of-life health journey, and I’m doing what I truly love.”

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) Chief Executive Officer Robin Whyte said nurses, as the healthcare profession with the largest number of members, play an integral part in health care for the community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nurses are at the frontline of detecting, managing, and preventing the spread of this virus, as well as playing a key role in education across the spectrum of preventative health,” she said.

“I wish all nurses the very best on International Nurses Day, a day to reflect on the significant and crucial part they play in improving our health.”

For more information on International Nurses Day, visit

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