International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May each year on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year cohealth shone a light on one of our own.
Jeanette George has been a nurse for 30 years. After her first year working as a qualified nurse Jeanette became a midwife. “I was always drawn to midwifery, so I wanted to do it as soon as I could after qualifying,” she said.
Based at our Fitzroy service, Jeanette has been with cohealth for almost 10 years. She wears the hats of midwife, women’s health nurse and refugee health nurse in a role that has expanded over time.
“Most of my work is on-site but I do do some outreach and home visits for post-natal support,” Jeanette said. “I also give women’s health talks to mothers’ groups and women’s groups, sometimes alone and sometimes with another nurse.”
Jeanette’s role is not an easy one, but it is one she finds incredibly rewarding.
“Going into people’s home is a real privilege – seeing where and how they live,” she said. “Sixty per cent of my clients come from a culturally and linguistically diverse background – I’ve learnt a lot about other cultures and it’s part of what I love about my job.”
After a decade at cohealth, the thing she likes the most about working at the organisation is the reward of providing continuity of care.
“I work with women through pregnancy, then supporting them post-natally. Later they bring their kids back for vaccinations, and you then roll onto their women’s health checks, and then the next pregnancy.” One of Jeanette’s favourite clients is a woman she has supported through four consecutive pregnancies!
So what does International Nurses Day mean to nurses like Jeanette? “It is nice to have that acknowledgement – it starts conversations,” she said.