A Message for International Nurses Day from the CEO

Tharbison-david-cochran-ceohe theme for International Nurses Day 2021 could not be more appropriate: A vision for the future of healthcare.

Nurses around the world have carried the heaviest burden in the fight against COVID-19. The pandemic is a terrible watershed moment that proves the value of high-quality, agile public health systems and innovative medical research. Here in Australia, we have been spared the full impact of the pandemic, and it is residential aged care that has been on the front line.

The pandemic arrived at a turning point for Australian aged care. Last night’s federal budget includes a strong response to the aged care royal commission that recognises the importance of nurses to our residents. While it is not perfect ($62 per day for basic daily services like meals and laundry is still significantly less than the $100 per day recommended in 2017) and lacks detail, the Government has committed to a minimum average of 40 minutes of direct nurse care per resident per day.

Harbison has long believed in professional aged care, and supports people to become qualified personal carers, personal carers to become enrolled nurses, and enrolled nurses to become registered nurses. We offer transitional training for graduate nurses to support them in their practice of aged care.

Why do we do this? Because aged care nurses are not just any nurses. They are highly skilled complex-care nurses who operate on the frontline without the resources available in primary care. Their patients usually have multiple co-morbidities, and they are responsible for coordinating holistic and multi-disciplinary care plans that maximise the wellbeing and quality of life for residents. They are expected to have clinical expertise, understand stringent regulatory requirements, manage challenging behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, advocate against the use of restraint, inappropriate use of antimicrobials, and polypharmacy, and take a palliative approach that extends well beyond end-of-life care.

Why do they do it? To make a difference! To nurses everywhere, thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many people, especially in the challenging year just past. To our nurses, thank you for choosing Harbison and for working so hard to help make us the provider of choice in our local community. We chose dedication as a core Harbison value in 2017 and it has never been more evident than in the past year. Harbison has an exciting future and we look forward to shaping it with you as we celebrate International Nurses Day 2021.

David Cochran
Chief Executive Officer
12 May 2021