Nurse Tania MckissockInternational Nurses day is celebrated around the world every May 12th, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

Each year the International Council of Nurses identifies a theme for organisations to acknowledge and promote the significant contribution that nurses make across a diverse range of health care services. This year the theme is Nurses: A Force for Change: Improving health systems’ resilience.

We have about 200 nurses, including health centre managers, team leaders and regional staff. Nurses working within the Corrections’ health services are often the first health care professional that people coming in to prison have seen for quite some time. Skilled attention has to be given to a broad range of presentations and conditions from emergent to urgent, short and long term, physical and mental health, a combination of all of the above, as well as the completely unexpected.

All of the above contribute to a challenging working environment where the ability to be adaptive, flexible and open to change can contribute to us being effective and helping to achieve sustainable outcomes for those we care for.

Organisations benefit hugely when there is a focus on building resilience into the way they function. “Our resilience is evident in our ability to respond and adapt to the higher levels of remand prisoners and the changing needs of our patients,” says Director Offender Health Bronwyn Donaldson.

International Nurses Day is an opportunity to thank all of our nurses for the great care and advocacy they provide to a group of people who have significant needs.

Health services at all New Zealand’s prisons meet the standards set for general practice by the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP), known as Cornerstone accreditation.