Adelaide nurses reach out to COVID-hit Vics  

17 September 2020

Adelaide health care professionals really are a caring lot, sending hundreds of letters of support to their besieged buddies across the border in Victoria.

The idea was sparked by a Facebook post from Adelaide nurse and internationally acclaimed comedian Georgie Carroll and has since taken off around the world.

Adelaide nurse educator Paula Melville, who works at NALHN (Lyell McEwin and Modbury hospitals), says her class of 72 graduates sent letters of support to 173 graduates at The Alfred in Melbourne.

“I had one grad in particular who wrote 52 notes of support for 52 grads,’’ she says.

“Reaching out and offering support to their counterparts in The Alfred means that much because they understood how hard it was and how challenging it was to transition to the nursing profession in the pandemic and South Australia got off pretty lightly.

“So for them it was quite an emotional thing to actually put themselves in the shoes of their Victorian counterparts and what it must be that they are going through, so to be able to offer a little bit of support to them meant the world.’’

Georgie Carroll came up with the idea of pairing hospitals between the two states, for example, the Lyell McEwin with The Alfred and the RAH with Royal Melbourne; resulting in scores of nurses and other medicos from numerous hospitals and correctional services sending best wishes to their interstate colleagues.

Georgie has even received letters and pictures from nurses in the US and the UK who have followed her lead.

Paula says the Melbourne graduates “are really doing it tough”.

“They’ve had all their study days cancelled, their program isn’t what their program normally is because of all the coronavirus stuff that’s been going on,’’ she says.

“So I think to know that other people across the country are actually thinking about them and care about them is really important.

“The (SA) grads themselves, transitioning into nursing in itself is really hard and navigating the profession itself is really quite a challenging 12 months,’’ Paula says.

“To put a pandemic on top of it has really pushed a lot of them, so for some of them they actually feel that to be able to overcome all the challenges that were thrown at them at the beginning of the year … they got such a sense of achievement that they actually managed to do that that they think ‘if we can do this we can do anything’.

“All the anxiety and all the pressure that was built up for what potentially we were expecting that we were fortunate enough not to get.

“So, it’s actually been quite empowering for them.’’

Pictured are some of the NALHN graduate nurses who participated in the compassionate campaign: Jasmin Carroll, Nina Rothfield (at the back), Natasha Paxton and Melissa Venus.