‘Essential contribution’ of nurses recognised

In recognition of International Nurses Day (May 12), the Australian Defence Force’s senior health leaders have paid tribute to the nurses who have made the ultimate sacrifice in conflict and to the enduring commitment of those caring for ADF personnel.

CAPTIONOne of Australia’s most decorated military nurses, Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel, has been immortalised in bronze at the Australian War Memorial. Story by Melinda Hoare.

The theme for the day – ‘Our Nurses. Our Future. The Economic Power of Care’ – emphasises that an investment in nursing creates healthy people and, by extension, healthy economies. In the ADF’s case, it drives a healthy force to deliver national defence capability.

Surgeon General ADF and Commander Joint Health Rear Admiral Sonya Bennett said the nursing workforce continued to deliver high-quality care, which contributed to maintaining the wellbeing, health and readiness of the force.

“With the announcement of the National Defence Strategy, the Government is making a generational uplift in Defence’s capabilities. This will include investing in our nurses who support the overall health and wellbeing of our people at home or on operations in our region,” Rear Admiral Bennett said.

Director of Defence Force Nursing Group Captain Kath Stein echoed the tribute to nurses’ dedication and acknowledged the unique nature of caring in a military setting.

“As we pause to reflect on our ADF nursing history, I’m reminded of one of our most decorated nurses, Lieutenant Colonel Bullwinkel, who is now immortalised in bronze in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial,” Group Captain Stein said.

“Her story of courage, survival, bravery and mateship extended beyond her time in service, with exceptional post-war service to the profession, which is a constant inspiration for all.

“Through history there are many stories that inspire and humble me, of the courage, service and sacrifice from our nurses and medics.

“I hope this International Nurses Day that everyone takes a moment to pause and recognise the essential contribution they provide in caring for our ADF personnel when they are at their most vulnerable.”


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