Professor Elizabeth Halcomb from the University of Wollongong's School of Nursing has used a major international honour to highlight the important roles nurses have played during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professor Halcomb was one of just four Australians named in the 2020 List of 100+ Outstanding Nursing and Midwifery leaders around the world.
The list was compiled from a partnership of the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Nursing Now, International Council of Nurses (ICN), International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and Women in Global Health (WGH).
Unveiled recently to mark the end of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the list features the achievements and contributions of nurses and midwives from 43 countries.
"It is humbling to be named on this list with so many amazing nursing and midwifery leaders from across the world," Prof Halcomb said.
"While 2020 was the WHO Year of the Nurse and Midwife, COVID-19 has really showcased the important role of nurses within the health care team and their impact on health within the community.
"We have seen nurses working on the frontlines of health care in hospital and community settings to ensure that people receive the care that they need not only to deal with COVID but also broader health issues.
"This has highlighted how important the job is that nurses do. I hope that this lesson can help to raise the profile of the profession within the community into the future."
Prof Halcomb is not only an international award-winning nurse academic, she was appointed the inaugural Professor of Primary Healthcare Nursing at the University of Wollongong in 2013, one of only two Australian professorial appointments specific to primary health care nursing.
Prof Halcomb said that the lessons learnt in 2020 would ultimately benefit the primary health care system.
"After such a tumultuous 2020 I am looking forward to the exciting changes in settling into a new normal for our primary health care system," she said.
"COVID-19 has accelerated changes in the health system that have been talked about for many years. It will be exciting in 2021 to see how these can be embedded into a new system to enhance health care in the community."
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