DONE THE ROUNDS: Ann Church, Maureen Saye and Elaine Donaldson have almost a century of child and family health nursing experience between them.
DONE THE ROUNDS: Ann Church, Maureen Saye and Elaine Donaldson have almost a century of child and family health nursing experience between them.

You’ve come a long way, babies

MAUREEN Saye is one of the longest serving child and family health nurses on the Northern Rivers, having spent 29 years working in the region.

Ms Saye said it was a love of pediatrics that kept her in the industry.

"I like the primary health care aspect of being able to make a difference in children's health so that it can prevent them from becoming sick," Ms Saye said.

"For me, the rewards are getting to know thefamilies over the time they're having their babies.

"To be a part of their lives, I think is actually a privilege."

It's been 100 years since the start of public health services to promote infant, child and family health in New South Wales.

Since then, almost 7.4 million babies have been born. Most have been seen and cared for by NSW Health's child and family health nurses.

Clinical nurse consultant for child and family health in the Tweed-Byron area, Diane Bigg, said child and family health nursing had changed dramatically.

"Back in 1914, it was very much an expert model and people were given information and advice about what they should do but there wasn't that much consultation around the process," Ms Bigg said.

"Today it's a totally different model and we work in partnership with families and we work with families' strengths and how they can manage their own problems."

A century ago, more than 100 of every 1000 children born alive died before their first birthday. Today, fewer than five per 1000 die before they turn one.

Northern NSW Local Health District acting executive director of nursing and midwifery Ann Schefe said that when a child and family health nurse met with a family, they were thinking about health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing.



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