International Nurses Day

Baptcare has a proud history of nursing, commencing in 1964. Today Baptcare nurses work in a range of roles in the community and within Residential Aged Care. To celebrate International Nurses Day, we reflect on the vital work of the community nursing service and offer our deep gratitude to all the nurses that have dedicated their lives in the service of others.

The story of Ivy West is well known in Baptist circles. In 1964 in her role as deacon at the Brunswick Baptist Church, Ivy began caring for the unwell in the church community using her nursing skills. In those bold early days Ivy relied on volunteers and council grants to develop what would become the Church Nursing Service. In 1970, Baptist Social Services bought the Church manse on Blyth Street as the base for Ivy’s Community Nursing Service (known today as Nursing and Allied Health).

Stories of Ivy climbing through windows to attend to patients at home speak of her deep desire to come alongside people, especially those nearing end-of-life.

Fast forward to 2020 and it’s Baptcare’s Community Nurse Yvonne Roddy trying to find a way into patients’ homes. Yvonne says, “sometimes as a nurse you have to look at a situation standing on your head.” In this instance the patient was terrified of contracting COVID-19 and needed wise counsel before agreeing to be seen. Yvonne describes that there is an under-recognised creativity required in nursing, “finding ways for people to open themselves to care.”

The specialized nature of nursing at Baptcare lends itself to those who work autonomously and can use their imagination. Yvonne shares that, “as we progress in our career as a nurse, we get better at that.” After 43 years of nursing (15 years at Baptcare) Yvonne is definitely in a position to offer this wisdom gained from many years of practice - similarly to Ivy West who turned her attention to training nurses on arrival at Blyth Street.

As we reach the 50th anniversary of nursing at Blyth Street the same vision of co-creation with staff and patients exists, for those who continue Baptcare’s proud history of nursing in that place.