Paediatric nurse navigator Gillian Lang with Amber Hewson, 7, and Sabrina Spice.
Paediatric nurse navigator Gillian Lang with Amber Hewson, 7, and Sabrina Spice. Carlie Walker

NURSES DAY: There for best of times and the worst of times

IN HER 31 years as a nurse, Maryborough's Gillian Lang has seen people on their happiest days and on some of their darkest.

She has worked as a midwife, welcoming new life and in intensive care units with critically injured patients.

Ahead of International Nurses Day tomorrow Ms Lang, now a paediatric nurse navigator, reflected on her important role in the community and health system.

"Between the clients and the health system, we have the most contact out of anybody," she said.

"We are the advocates for the clients, that is one of the most important roles nurses play.

"It's our job to make their time with the health service smooth."

One person who has spent plenty of time in the care of the health system is seven-year-old Amber Hewson.

Her parents Craig and Sabrina Spice had to watch their daughter get wheeled into surgery when she was just 17 days old when she was born with hydrocephalus, a condition in which an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid occurs within the brain.

In out of hospital since then, her mum Sabrina Spice said nurses had made a big difference to her daughter during her life.

Now suffering severe scoliosis, Amber's health journey has continued throughout her life.

She has undergone spinal surgery and been airlifted to hospital in Brisbane after she developed pneumonia.

Sabrina has seen nurses develop connections with her daughter that make their time in hospital easier.

"We'd be lost without nurses, that's for sure," Ms Spice said.

While providing support was important for any patient in the health care system Ms Lang said the role nurses played when it came to people who needed ongoing care was especially valuable.

"The care mostly happens outside of hospital," she said.

"When they leave the hospital, the support for kids like Amber continues in the community for a long time."

The care provided by nurses has long been appreciated by the community, as evidenced by the Wide Bay Hospital Museum.

"Nurses have long been recognised as being someone to be trusted in the community and it's great to be part of that," Ms Lang said.

Ms Lang works alongside graduate nurses and nurses who have been part of the profession for more than 40 years.

She said it was amazing to hear about the new skills and speciality areas of nursing, as well as how many changes the profession had experienced over the years.

After all these years, Ms Lang still remains passionate about her chosen profession.

"I love it," she said.