Dr Robyn Henderson
I was determined not to follow in my mother’s, aunt’s and two of my sisters’ paths to become a nurse.
I wanted to become a lawyer. However, my mother was adamant that I could become a lawyer after becoming a nurse – a good career starting point, she said.
When I started, I was completely captured by the anatomy of the human body and the pathophysiology of disease.
But mostly what captured my interest was the individual humans requiring care and the humility and gratitude of patients for kindness and care - I loved it.
Working with people in discomfort and anxiety, and having capacity to bring technical skill, clinical competence and kindness, comfort and calmness has been the greatest honour and joy of my career.
I realised quite early in my career that our ability to be autonomous and professionally adept is critical to outcomes for patients.
Yes, biologic/biotech interventions may improve our disease burden now and into the future, but the human being, the benefit from nurses and midwives’ courage and caring is what matters.
I believe that nursing and midwifery in 2020 is about courage.
The courage to be kind, the courage to advocate for people in our care, the professional courage to put the person needing care ahead of ourselves, the courage to lead, to stand fast and to find our voice in the face of ‘other’ forces trying to intervene or reduce the capacity of nurses and midwives to care.
We need courage to ensure our rightful place at the table in leading the health of our communities to realise their full potential.
Mostly, we need room to be the legitimate professionals we have been educated and gained experience to be and that our community know and trust.
Finally, on a personal note - I would have been a terrible lawyer!
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