The Australian College of Nursing National Nursing Forum was held in Hobart on 21-23 August 2019.The theme of the forum was ‘Power of Policy’ with keynote presentations and robust discussion about how the nursing profession needs to better position itself in relevant policy issues, utilising collective expertise and leadership to advance nurse and provision of care issues. Key messages that resonated for many were for nurses to: 

  • think globally to respond locally  

  • seek collaborations with researchers and academics to gather evidence of nursing interventions and scope of practice to better inform local, state and national policy and advocacy work 

  • acknowledge the life experience and skills of mature age graduates and early career nurses and incorporate this in to workforce policy issues regarding recruitment and retention. 


ASHM Clinical Nurse Lead Melinda Hassall presented evaluation data from post course surveys completed by nurses enrolled in the Removing Barriers: Providing Care for People with BBVs online learning module from March to June 2019. 


A number of nurses listening to the presentation were concerned at the level of stigma and discrimination that was self-reported, and also the lack of understanding of BBV transmission and use of standard precautions from their nurse colleagues.  The survey results and nurses’ concerns highlight the continued need to promote ASHM’s Removing Barriers work and the inclusion of stigma and discrimination content in our education and rhetoric.  


The World Health Organisation has declared 2020 as the international year of the nurse and midwife which also coincides with Florence Nightingale's 200th birthday.  2020 will be a significant year of celebration and global acknowledgment of the role of nurses and midwives in achieving universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. Elimination of stigma and discrimination in healthcare encounters and systems remains critical to meeting these global goals.