International Nurses’ Day to reflect on Cyclone Tracy stories


CDU Nursing Museum curator Janie Mason says nurses pioneered professional healthcare in the NT

CDU Nursing Museum curator Janie Mason says nurses pioneered professional healthcare in the NT

The longstanding profession of nursing in the Northern Territory will be celebrated at Charles Darwin University on International Nurses’ Day today.

An historical exhibition and book launch will be held at Casuarina campus on the commemorative day, which falls on the birthday of modern nursing pioneer, Florence Nightingale.

CDU Nursing Museum curator Janie Mason said nurses were the earliest professional healthcare providers in the NT, delivering healthcare to Territorians in the remote regions since 1869.

“Nurses in the NT serve in a unique environment from the arid centre to the tropical north,” Ms Mason said.

“The remoteness, low density of population and diversity of clientele create a very different working environment for nurses who have come from the southern states.”

Ms Mason said the NT had a robust nursing community, with nursing being the largest single undergraduate course at CDU.

“It’s very important to train our own,” she said.

“Nurses are the biggest component of the health workforce. In the hospital, it is the nurses who give the care and once you get outside the walls of an acute hospital, it is most typically a nurse who the patients will see.”

At the event, a book of firsthand accounts from a variety of health workers who were on duty during Cyclone Tracy will be launched.

NT Administrator His Honour the Honourable John Hardy OAM will launch the book by Principal Research Fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research, Associate Professor Sue Sayers, titled “The not so ‘Silent Night’ Cyclone Tracy stories from doctors, nurses and health workers Darwin, December 1974”.

The accompanying exhibition will feature historical texts including Florence Nightingale’s “Notes on Nursing”, a 1926 copy of “Pronouncing Dictionary for Nurses” and lecture notes and drawings from Elizabeth Durack, a trainee nurse at the Royal Darwin Hospital in 1937.

The event is open to members of the healthcare community and friends of the CDU Nursing Museum, the Historical Society NT, and the CDU Foundation.

The event will be held at Red Building 1, level 3 on Casuarina campus on Tuesday, 12 May from 3pm until 5pm.

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