They deliver new life, care for the sick and injured, and are there at the very end.

Today marks International Nurses Day, a day to recognise these unsung heroes.

Sarah McVeigh has the story.


It was a day to reflect on a lifelong passion.

Bronwen Davie, Community Nurse: “I used to dress up in little nurses outfits and go around and doctor people.”

And a day to say thanks.

Lisa Fawcett, Acting Exec Director of Nursing Services: “We do get a lot of compliments from the people we look after.”

But the Queensland Nurses Union says some nurses just aren’t paid enough.

They’re concerned, saying nurses in the private sector, particularly in aged care, are being paid up to 40 per cent less than their public sector counterparts.

Des Elder, Assistant Sec of Qld Nurses Union: “Now I think that is an outrage and a shameful situation that needs to be rectified very quickly.”

The opposition says many of those in the public sector are still experiencing payment issues after the health department’s new payroll system was introduced.

Ros Bates, Shadow Minister for Government Services: “Today should be a day for celebration for the nurses of Queensland and unfortunately they’ve had an assault for the last 414 days where many of them have still not been paid the correct wage.”

The government says over the past seven months issues have been minimal.

Simon Finn, Minister for Government Services: “There have been fewer than 0.1 per cent reports of errors in payment.”

Queensland Health have told the union it will be about 18 months before the pay situation is rectified. But the union says progress has been made.

For many nurses today was just about getting on with the job.

Bronwen Davies, Community Nurse: “Just the joy of bringing life into the world. That’s very special.”

Sarah McVeigh, QUT News.