International nursing leaders express their support for Australian nurses and midwives amidst bushfires

Hill with trees about to burn in red, orange wildfire

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the international leadership of the Nursing Now Campaign have expressed their support and solidarity to the nurses and midwives of Australia who are caring for those who have been impacted, physically, emotionally and mentally by the bushfires across Australia.

In a letter to ANMF’s Federal Secretary Annie Butler, Nursing Now leaders Co-chair Professor Shiela Tlou, Co-chair Lord Nigel Crisp, Alternate chair Baroness Mary Watkins and Executive Director Dr Barbara Stilwell sent their deepest condolences to families who have lost loved ones and sympathy to the many families who had lost their homes and livelihoods.

“We extend our heartfelt thanks to nurses and midwives, as well as many other first responders, who remain steadfast in providing healthcare and emotional support for families in need. Your resilience in the face of such adversity and destruction has our deepest respect and admiration,” the leaders wrote.

International Council of Nurses’ Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton, who also wrote to Ms Butler, said the organisation understood the magnitude of destruction of these fires was devastating and that many people will be suffering both now and for a long period of time.

“Our thoughts are with you,” Mr Catton said in his message.

“We acknowledge and honour the hard work that is being undertaken by all emergency workers, volunteers and community members who are working tirelessly amongst horrendous conditions. Stories are emerging of the heroic actions undertaken by those seeking to contain, manage and end this disaster. We know that there will be many nurses fighting to save their homes whilst at the same time supporting the healthcare needs of the communities in which they live. We admire and respect their remarkable courage and sacrifice.

“As your country faces this unprecedented disaster, we at ICN and our member national nursing associations from across the world offer you our support and encouragement as you care for those who have been impacted. We stand in solidarity with the nursing profession in Australia as you face this devastating crisis,” he said.

Mr Catton also expressed that the ICN recognised that climate change had intensified the magnitude of these types of disasters and called for stronger action to prevent global warming so that future generations will not have to go through this level of devastation and suffering.

“With the increasing frequency of disasters, we are also passionate about supporting the global nursing community in disaster preparedness and management. Nurses are the largest group of the healthcare workforce and are on the frontline during disasters. Our hope is to protect nurses, enhance their skills and capabilities, and improve community health outcomes during and after emergencies,” he said.

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