08 May 2024
International Nurses Day - SWSPHN staff

The all-encompassing, often challenging but hugely rewarding work of primary care nurses will be celebrated across South Western Sydney and the world, on International Nurses Day, Sunday 12 May.

More than 420 nurses are employed at general practices across our region, providing high quality, and respectful treatment and care.

International Nurses Day, held each year on the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, acknowledges the dedication, compassion and professionalism of our nurses.

This year’s theme, Our Nurses. Our Future. The economic power of careaims to reshape perceptions and demonstrate how strategic investment in nursing can bring considerable economic and societal benefits

South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Keith McDonald PhD, said the huge difference practice nurses made to the health of our community could not be overstated.

“The knowledge and skills needed to be a nurse in primary care is vast,” he said. “Nurses can be responsible for everything from excisions and immunisations to liaising with allied health teams and educating their patients.

“International Nurses Day is an important opportunity to ensure that contribution, their skills and empathy, are recognised.”

Trained nurses, SWSPHN Clinical Coordinator, Kristina Allen (pictured right above), and Clinical and Quality Improvement Officer, Lisa Cerruto (pictured left above), work closely with nurses across the region.

Mrs Allen said the role of a practice nurse required many skills to help with different areas of healthcare.

“Nurses work collaboratively with doctors and pharmacists to keep up with disease management, referrals or acute illnesses.

“Nurses can also empower their patients and their families with knowledge. We can help our patient to understand their disease process and the plan of care, it is an awesome feeling. Nurses can bring understanding and peace during what can be a confusing or challenging times.

Mrs Allen said practice nurses differed from other areas of nursing, as they handled such a diverse set of circumstances daily.

“Essentially, a practice nurse is an all-rounder in a general practice setting,” she said.

Mrs Cerruto said she loved the versatility of nursing and the opportunities to evolve and grow across a range of different clinical fields.

“You never know what the day or situation may bring so it challenges you to always be thinking of a solution to help, whether it be a skin tear, helping bring a new life into the world, or helping one pass from it,” she said.

“Nursing is a career in which you will never stop learning and growing. This is why I love being a nurse.”


SWSPHN spoke to nurses from across our region to learn about their motivations for becoming a nurse, what their day-to-day role involves and what they enjoy most about being a practice nurse.


Jessie Beresford – practice nurse, clinic owner/manager at The Practice at BundanoonJessie Beresford

Jessie said her main joy at The Practice was the therapeutic relationship which could be achieved through a kind and informative clinical relationship.

“This enables and promotes trust and, in our experience, engages the patient to achieve a better health outcome, especially for chronic health management. It’s so great when we see patients achieving their health goals!”


Elise Janson – Harrington Park Medical Centre

Elise said there were many benefits to becoming a practice nurse.Elise Janson

“We as a team go through highs and lows with patients and their families. The rapport and relationships built can be super rewarding.

“Practice nursing for me is what you make of it. I contribute to clinical outcomes by educating patients with their care needs, promoting safer scenarios for their overall health, applying complete transparency regarding their health, effectively communicating and ensuring my clinical competency is up-to-date with the latest literature.”


Rebecca Cade – Macarthur General Practice, CampbelltownRebecca Cade

Rebecca said she was responsible for the development of their nurse-led clinics, ensuring the skills and experience of our nursing staff were being fully utilised.

“Utilising our nurses in nurse-led clinics provides our patients with the opportunity to receive a comprehensive assessment, a tailored treatment plan and education in relation to a particular aspect of their health (for example, osteoporosis).

“The clinics not only empower patients with the knowledge needed to manage their health condition but frees up our GPs for patients with concerns that cannot be addressed by the practice nurse.”