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Faces behind the front line

Appreciating nurses: Echuca Regional Health’s executive director of nursing Maree Woodhouse and interim deputy director of nursing Leona Smith were excited to celebrate International Nurses Day. Photo by Steve Huntley

This International Nurses Day, May 12, Echuca Regional Health acknowledges the faces behind front-line healthcare.

Interim deputy director of nursing Leona Smith has been a nurse for 25 years, 17 of which she has worked as a nurse at ERH.

She has worked in a variety of nursing roles, including as a surgical nurse, an emergency nurse, a paediatric nurse and an after-hours manager.

“The nursing team at ERH create a really great working environment,” Ms Smith said.

“It’s been a difficult few years, for nurses, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

“The amount of effort and work that nurses have put in over the past three years is incredible. We’re talking about long hours.”

Executive director of nursing Maree Woodhouse said International Nurses Day was about recognising the time, effort and leadership that nurses have devoted to community, particularly during the pandemic.

Happy nurses day: Echuca Regional Health board directors, CEO Robyn Lindsay and nursing staff gathered for morning tea. Photo by Steve Huntley

ERH board chair Larna Torrant agreed and said: “Today has been a fantastic opportunity for people to stop, reflect and recognise the essential role that nurses play in the community.

“While the rest of us are trying to move on with our lives without COVID-19 restrictions, our nurses are still working hard on the front line, they’re still in the trenches and they’re still providing essential healthcare to those in need.

“The outstanding work that they do cannot be overstated.”

Nursing staff at ERH celebrated the day with a morning tea, an afternoon tea and free coffee vouchers were provided to evening staff who are rostered on for night shift.

“It was important for us to make sure that all the nurses at ERH the the opportunity to celebrate and that is why we made the decision to organise a special treat for all our nurses across all our shift times,” Ms Smith said.

Scones at the afternoon tea were kindly donated by Bakehouse 151.