Nurses celebrate with book launch and art exhibition 

CDU Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences Janie Mason with Jillian Moore’s book “Top End Nurses” that tells stories about nursing in the tropics from 1964-1974

The Charles Darwin University nursing community will reflect on the past, celebrate the present and focus on the future this weekend as part of International Nurses’ Day.

A book launch and the opening of a new exhibition in the CDU Nursing Museum at Casuarina campus will share top billing at a gathering of staff, students and special guests in Darwin this Saturday 12 May.

Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences and Nursing Museum Curator Janie Mason said this year’s Nurses’ Day theme “Closing the Gap: From Evidence to Action” would resonate with Territorians.

“It ties in with our new exhibition “Art and Story - Closing the Gap”, which remembers the incalculable contribution made by health justice advocate Florence Nightingale and contains works of art with important messages about healthy living standards,” she said.

“The art works have been acquired from health departments, the old ATSIC, the national rural health alliance and some are works by Indigenous children.”

Ms Mason said long-time Territory nurse Annette Bailey would launch the book “Top End Nurses: Bush Nursing in the Top End of Australia’s Northern Territory 1964-1974”, written by friend and colleague Jillian Moore.

“Jillian was a nurse with the Anglican Church’s Missionary Society, and later the Health Department, who worked in Oenpelli, Groote Eylandt and Yirrkala for about 10 years from the mid-1960s.

“She tells stories about life as a nurse in what was a very different world. Communication was essentially limited to radio, often there were no roads and many nurses worked alone.

“When you consider that history informs the future, these are important stories that must be told and remembered. It is particularly important to realise that nursing in remote and tropical Australia is still very different to nursing in southern Australia.

“It is something that we emphasise to students in our undergraduate nursing program.”

Ms Mason said CDU offered a number of nursing and allied courses at both vocational and higher education levels.

“We have about 1400 students enrolled in the three-year Bachelor of Nursing Pre-registration program and there are post-graduate offerings in child health, mental health, renal and general health.”

Meanwhile, staff at Alice Springs campus will be afforded an opportunity tomorrow to welcome the newest members to the health team in Central Australia.

Senior lecturer Robin Cross said it would be a multi-faceted celebration.

“Not only will we celebrate International Nurses’ Day, but we will also acknowledge International Midwives’ Day (May 5) and we’ll use the occasion to introduce our two new nursing lecturers.”

Both Rebecca Gilmour and Dr Colin Watson joined the staff as lecturers in nursing this semester, bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise with them.

“Rebecca is a renal health specialist and Colin has a background in remote health and research so both are valuable additions to our small quality team,” she said.