Nursing Course Coordinator and Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Deputy Chair of the NT region, Nicole Norman, attended the ACN National Nursing Forum in Hobart recently. She was joined by Senior Lecturer in Nursing Dr Nasreena Waheed and Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer NT Health, Adj Prof Sue Hawes.
Attended by more than 500 nurses, students and academics from across the country, the conference looked at how nurses can use their influence and collective voice to improve health.
“The National Nursing Forum was attended by nurses from all states and territories of Australia from chief nurses to student nurses,” said Ms Norman.
“It is the most powerful voice that can influence the direction of nursing in this country.”
The theme of the conference was ‘Nursing Now – Power of Policy’, described by ACN president Prof Christine Duffield as “exploring the role nursing plays in policy development, implementation and reform to ensure health systems meet the demands of a changing health environment and are sustainable”.
One of the most powerful presentations was keynote speaker, past South Australian senator, Annabel Digance. Ms Digance pointed out that although there is one nurse for every eight Australians, we represent less than 0.2% of Parliament.
“It was interesting to consider that even though we are one of the most trusted professions on the planet, we are not included when it comes to policy,” said Ms Norman.
Francine Douce, Chair of Australia and New Zealand Council of Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers, challenged nurses to take a seat at the table of change. She discussed how important it is for nurses to advocate for each other and find our voices to discuss and lead change through policy.
“Every nurse has their own journey through nursing, no one is better or worse than the other,” said Ms Norman.
“We have all overcome challenges and made sacrifices and we need to share these journeys and learn from them to lead change for a better health system and health outcomes for all.”