Today is World Health Day (7 April 2020) – a World Health Organisation auspiced international day – to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives and remind world leaders of the critical role they play in keeping the world healthy.
Nurses and other health workers are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. Without them there would be no response. Many around the world are risking their lives to care for people during this pandemic. I so feel for them right now.
Our inhouse nurse – Alex Wilson – works for our firm part-time and for the rest of the week at a private hospital. This is part of what she told us this week in an email update.
We are gearing up [at the hospital for whom she works] for an influx that we hope never materialises. We, who are not ICU-trained, are upgrading our education in caring for ventilated patients. We are practising donning and doffing of masks and shields and gowns and triple-layers of gloves so that we don’t become contaminated during aerosol-generating procedures. As an anaesthetic nurse I am practising, with a team of nurses and doctors, intubation of known COVID positive patients destined for a ventilator in ICU. Everyone in the hospital is anxious…. No one wants a patient to die while they are going through the time-consuming process of correctly donning their PPE. There is no emergency in a pandemic, unfortunately. That means if a patient declines rapidly, we can’t rush to support their breathing. No one enters the room until they are completely attired, and Plans A, B and C have been discussed.
Obviously in hospitals we will see the most extreme version of this virus, but unfortunately, we can’t fully predict who will experience the extreme version. I can tell you with certainty that it is not only the elderly becoming very unwell and sometimes dying. People keep calling healthcare workers “the frontline”, but I believe the community is the frontline; everyone has a role in containing the spread of COVID-19 before it gets to GP practices and hospitals. Everyone knows now what it takes to prevent the spread of this virus: distance and hygiene. So please stay home. I don’t ever want to watch someone struggle to breathe because they were feeling cooped-up at home and just popped around to a friend’s for a while. And I don’t want to take COVID home to my family because someone who thought they wouldn’t get that sick if they caught it, had a sneaky dinner party.
This email shows the work nurses and other health care workers are putting in and the anxiety they face going about their job. Alex also reminds us how vital it is for the rest of the community to stay home and follow hygienic practices. Whilst my team and I see the worst of the worst as medical lawyers, Australians need to remember – and be grateful for – the fact that we have an excellent health care system (by and large). A health system that is full of highly-skilled practitioners – one that really comes into its own in a crisis.
Our firm has four team members who still work as nurses, have worked as nurses or have studied nursing. We pay tribute to them and other nurses and midwives on World Health Day (and every other day).
Our trained nursing staff from left to right:
Alex Wilson – Registered Nurse and Clinical Consultant. Alex works part-time as a Perioperative Registered Nurse and has more than 25 years of experience in nursing.
Linda Crawford – Senior Solicitor, Health Law. Linda worked as a nurse and midwife in NSW and Queensland hospitals for almost 20 years before becoming a lawyer.
Lucie Dei Rocini – Lucie worked as a registered nurse for six years in NSW hospitals and within residential aged care before becoming a lawyer.
Jordan Young – Paralegal. Jordan studied nursing at UTS before switching to study law at UON.
Please join us on World Health Day in supporting the campaign to ensure that the nursing and midwifery workforces are strong enough to ensure that everyone, everywhere gets the healthcare they need.