Reception for Queensland Nurses
President of the Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses, Colonel Julie Finucane OAM RFD Rtd; Chairperson of Child Health History (Qld) Inc. Committee, Ms Janet Henry; nurses from across Queensland; supporters; ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Government House, and, more importantly, happy International Nurse’s Day!
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we gather, the Turrbul and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders, past, present and emerging.
Graeme and I warmly welcome you all to Government House, so we can pay tribute to the incredible contribution our nurses make to the lives of all Queenslanders.
You represent the tens of thousands of nurses and midwives working in our State’s hospitals, community health services, in aged care, GP clinics, and schools—from our largest cities to our smallest remote settlements—who tend to the physical and mental health needs of vulnerable people, with enduring dedication and compassion.
While you may each perform different roles, in vastly different locations, you are all staying true to the foundational philosophy of nursing—to encourage and support the health and wellbeing of others.
Your contribution is not only deeply valued, but is also immensely admirable.
Nursing in our State has come a long way since the first Florence Nightingale system-training centre was opened at the Brisbane General Hospital in 1886. Where once, nurses in hospitals cared for patients over many days, often weeks, now the average hospital stay is considerably shorter. This level of intensity, coupled with a need for greater specialisation has meant nurses have become increasingly more involved in the active care of their patients.
Today, nursing is a profession that requires substantial training, and ever-expanding expertise, but also demands courage, stamina, and the unique ability to be able to deal with relentless and diverse challenges—as you help people through significant, even monumental events in their lives—from birth to death, and everything in between.
Of course, we can now add a global pandemic into that mix, and I am extremely proud of our healthcare sector’s coordinated response to this particular threat and the willingness of nurses to be prepared for the worst, even by placing their own lives at risk to help others.
With all of this comes increased pressure, and I know that at times the job is extremely difficult. At such moments, nurses rely on each other to help see them through, and this sharing of wisdom, advice and knowledge is an incredibly powerful and beneficial force that helps our young nurses, in particular, cope with problems and develop their capabilities.
I thank you all for your service to the people of this State, and for demonstrating outstanding professionalism to the individuals in your care.
As Governor I will continue to support the remarkable work you are doing, by encouraging a healthy and active Queensland. I also look forward to visiting every public hospital during my term, and meeting more of our exceptional nurses.