International Nurses Day; A vision for Future Healthcare

When someone says ‘nurse’, what’s the first word that springs to mind? Kind, caring, compassionate? Or perhaps it’s inspiring, dedicated and innovative? The thousands of nurses across Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network are all of those things and more, and today we thank them for the amazing work they do to help give the best possible care to sick kids and their families. 

While nurses do an amazing job doing their absolute best for kids in hospital, for many that isn’t enough. Nurses across the Network are always striving to do better; upskilling themselves, researching more into the best way to help sick kids, and even passing on their skills to help future nurses learn.

SCH’s Children’s Intensive Care Unit (CICU) nurses are renowned for being a hardworking, passionate and nurturing team. In an incredibly challenging environment, these dedicated, highly skilled nurses provide around the clock care for some of the sickest children in the state. 

There’s a lot to learn for nurses new to a ward, so each new starter is paired with up to four ‘preceptors’, experienced CICU nurses who will train and mentor them in their first weeks on the job. India undertook her first year of nursing in 2020, and says she is extremely grateful for the time her preceptors spent with her during her first six weeks on the ward.

“Having preceptors as I started out on the ward was such a beneficial experience.  While you learn so much at uni, having an experienced nurse supervising and sharing their tips and tricks with you by the bedside is invaluable. I can’t say thank you enough to my preceptors for their time and support, and for helping me be the best nurse I can be,” she said.

In the past year, CICU nurses have been preceptors for 21 new starters, which amounts to an amazing 3384 hours of training.

CICU Clinical Nurse Specialist Grade 2 for Education Charlotte says education, training and professional development is paramount when it comes to our nurses,  and the CICU team lead the way every day, “Our senior nurses devote their time to ensuring new starters develop into safe and well-rounded CICU nurses and future leaders on the team. It’s a wonderful cycle of learning and education - new nurses who have been preceptored will then go on to be mentors themselves.”

Education in nursing extends even further than the bedside, and in CHW’s Grace Centre for Newborn Care, a number of nurses have, or are in the process of, taking their education to the next level by completing PhD’s. 

Co-Head of Grace Centre for Newborn Care, Holly Murphy, supports and empowers her team to expand their skillset to not only benefit themselves but also benefit the patients and the families that they care for.  

"When people discuss research in the healthcare field, they often mention scientists or doctors, but nurses play an extremely important role in research as well. 

"In Grace, and across the Network, we have a strong commitment to encouraging nurses to undertake research projects, and expand their skills. We have had four nurses on the ward complete their PhD's, and another two are currently undertaking PhD's. These nurses will become valuable supports, and will lead and mentor future nurses,” Holly said. 

The last year has made evident just how important the role of nurses is, and Sally Whalen, Director of Midwifery and Education, could not be more proud of the Network's nursing staff.

"I am continually surprised, delighted and very proud of the work that our nurses do each and every day across the Network in caring for children and their families, as well as their colleagues. 

"Our nurses have been at the forefront of our COVID-19 response, in our COVID clinics, leading our COVID vaccine response and caring for our patients each and every day. Our nurses are amazing and extraordinary, and should be so proud of all they've achieved this year." Sally said.


International Nurses Day is celebrated on the ‘first nurse’, Florence Nightingale’s, birthday each year, the 12th of May. This year’s theme is Nurses: A Voice to Lead, A Vision for Future Healthcare, and there’s no doubting that SCHN’s nurses truly are a vision for future healthcare.

With the help of the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation, nurses across the Network are being celebrated with goodies and treats today from Burts Bees, Mama Kaz, Menulog, The Cheesecake Shop, Rapid Relief Team, Carnival Cruises and Outback Steakhouse. 

Wishing all of our nurses a Happy International Nurses Day and a sincere thank you!