The year 2020 was nominated by the World Health Organisation as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, a pioneer in nursing. The practices of handwashing, standards of cleanliness and learning from data, which were endorsed by Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War are at the forefront of our minds again, as the global community battles the Covid-19 Pandemic.
While many in our community have been staying home to stay safe, our nurses have mobilised: staffing the drive-through Covid-19 testing facility at Wodonga Hospital, performing contact-tracing, and supporting patients, students and fellow staff to be COVID-safe at all times. Our midwives have continued to support birthing women in a strange and anxious time, our community nurses continue to attend to those in need, and our hospital staff show up, day and night to care for the sick. These men and women, donned in PPE, and putting the needs of others first, have become a thin-red line that is keeping our community safe.
2020 has been a year of immense challenges, but it is also a time to celebrate nurses and midwives of the past and present - their training, experiences, achievements, and their sacrifice. In a year dominated by a rolling public health emergency it is clear, we have never needed them more.
Nurse on Call is a collaboration between Albury Wodonga Health and Albury LibraryMuseum to celebrate the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. One hundred years of nursing in the Albury Wodonga region is explored through images, primary sources, newspaper articles, official hospital documents, and oral histories. We cannot tell every story, but we hope to provide a glimpse into the nurses of the past, while also celebrating the nurses of the present.