Shen then introduced guests to two nurses, whose story epitomises this philosophy.
“Marianne Stöger and Margaret Pissarek could not be at the
conference in person, but their story needs to be heard. They went
beyond the ordinary, beyond the expected, beyond the prescribed care for
the illnesses their patients were enduring.”
Their story starts
in 1962, when—fresh out of nursing school—they heed the call from the
Korean island of Sorokdo to provide care to 6,000 patients with leprosy,
as well as 200 children isolated on the island from their afflicted
“At a time when there was no known cure and doctors at
the local hospital wore masks, gloves and consulted with these patients
from a distance, Marianne and Margaret cared as only nurses could.”
touched the patients’ curled up fingers and toes with their bare hands.
They applied disinfectant to every part of their bodies without gloves.
They socially connected with them…they invited them to dinner…they sat
down with their families…they gave them love, hope and joy at a time
when it was felt that all was lost.”
“For 40 years, these two
nurses worked unpaid to care for patients on what was known as a ‘leper
colony’, leaving only to raise funds back in Austria so they could
continue to cover the cost of ongoing care on the island.”
The 12-minute video documenting the contribution of these two nurses to the island community can be viewed at mm.kna.or.kr
where you can also support the nomination of Marianne and Margaret for a Nobel Peace prize.
encourage you to sign the petition to support the nomination of these
terrific ambassadors for nursing as it should be. But, we do not just
want you to just sign a petition.”
“We want you to adopt the
ethos and take it back to your workplace. We want you to lobby your
manager, your Executive, your Director of Nursing and even your Minister
to create an environment that enables you as nurses and midwives to
practice and provide whole-person care in our own workplaces.”
if you are not empowered to shift your focus back to whole-of person
care—instead of just treating the diagnosis—we will lose the very
essence of our role as nurses and midwives. And the people in your care?
Well, they stand to lose a lot more. Just ask anyone struggling to meet
the needs of their residents in aged care.”