Even though nurses are undervalued economically, I don't believe they are undervalued socially. I reckon most people know, either personally or courtesy of time spent as a patient, that nurses are terrific. I'm speaking generally here because I know that there are dodgey operators in all professions but nurses do work which makes non nurses say, 'I could never do that!' and they do it in a way that fills us with admiration.
Over the past three years, I have come to appreciate how hard it is, not only to practice nursing, but even to become qualified as a nurse. The Bachelor of Nursing strikes me as a very intense course which makes some other academic degrees look like puzzles from That's Life magazine.These men and women have to learn a lot in a very short space of time, and they have to begin to practice and, in the case of young nursing students fresh out of high school, be confronted with some very full on, challenging and at times disturbing facets of human nature. Emotionally, spiritually and physically, this is hard yakka we are talking about here.
Last night, nursing graduands from the University of Wollongong celebrated their wonderful achievement with a fancy ball at the Fraternity Club. I was there and what I saw was relief and satisfaction. There was loads of laughter, and beautifully clad, happy faced, if somewhat inebriated people, burned up the dance floor to booming pumping duff duff music. They were letting their hair down to rejoice in a hard fought achievement. Those crazy dance moves shouted victory.
I just want to congratulate them and their partners and families for making it to the end of what at times looked like a black hole of eternal stress and late night study sessions. Well done, girls and guys.