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Opinion: Wide world of healthcare

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Ange Erwin, Chief Nursing and Midwifery OfficerAngela Erwin Web 1127173

Every May is an opportunity to honour and celebrate our hard-working nurses and midwives, as we reflect on their contributions to the community on both international Nurses Day and International Day of the Midwife. Whilst the critical role that frontline healthcare workers play in keeping the community well has been under the spotlight in recent years, many people are unfamiliar with the diverse spectrum of roles that nurses and midwives undertake in the healthcare system.

At Barwon Health, where I am privileged to serve as the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, our highly skilled nurses and midwives work across many areas beyond frontline clinical practice including education, digital health, research, leadership, project management, public health, and executive roles. These are just a few examples of the diverse fields within nursing and midwifery that extend beyond traditional clinical practice. Each field offers unique opportunities for nurses and midwives to make meaningful contributions to healthcare and improve patient outcomes in various settings and roles.

I started my career as a registered nurse and working in different nursing roles has contributed significantly to my professional development through diverse experiences and skill development. Barwon Health is committed to offering professional development and growth opportunities that ensure nurses and midwives are free to look beyond the boundaries of traditional clinical practice. We encourage staff to explore avenues that align with their interests and expertise, whether this is involvement in groundbreaking research projects and clinical trials or spearheading initiatives in recruitment and clinical education.

Nurses and midwives bring a unique perspective to so many areas of health service management, with experience that allows them to advocate for both consumers and staff. They play a pivotal role in mentoring the next generation of healthcare professionals by providing advice and insights that help nurture and grow our staff. Barwon Health nurses and midwives play a leading role in developing new services and infrastructure projects that support the delivery of care to meet the needs of our community.

This May, Barwon Health is celebrating our nurses and midwives acknowledging the breadth of their contribution to our health system at all levels – not only through direct care when you and your loved ones need it, but also through their leadership in the wider health system, their contribution to nurturing and sustaining the workforce of the future and their innovation and work on advancing clinical practice.