QUEENSLAND nurses will join with colleagues in countries up to 18,000km away to celebrate International Nurses' Day today.
Queensland Nurses and Midwives' Union (QNMU) Secretary Beth Mohle said the life-saving work of nurses would be celebrated throughout the state and around the globe on May 12 - the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.
Ms Mohle said celebrations to mark the value of nurses would be held between Cairns, Cloncurry and Coolangatta and as far away as the Czech Republic, Albania, Africa, the USA, UK and Russia.
"Nurses play an important role in our society and at some time they will help us or someone we love when we need it most,'' Ms Mohle said.
"The contributions of nurses cannot be underestimated. Nurses are by our side through the night to monitor our vital signs, they help us in life and in facing death and they are always there to advise and provide care.
"Increasingly nurses also play a valuable role in guiding health policy to ensure patients receive the best care and outcomes possible.''
The theme of this year's International Nurses' Day is Nurses: A Voice to Lead, Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Ms Mohle said the May 12 celebration also marked the first anniversary of Queensland Parliament's passing of nurse to patient ratios.
She said on May 12 last year, Queensland became just the fourth government in the world to introduce life-saving nurse to patient ratios. The laws are being rolled out in Queensland public hospitals and dictate how many patients can safely be allocated to a single nurse.
"Queensland nurses and their colleagues around the world have long campaigned for nurse to patient ratios,'' Ms Mohle said.
"I'm proud to say that on this day one year ago Queensland became just the fourth government in the world to introduce this life-saving legislation.
"Over allocating patients to a nurse means poor outcomes and increased mortality rates for patients. Nurses the world over know this and will continue to campaign for ratios.''
She said it was important health policy makers and management listened to nurses. Nurses work on the front line of patient care and know how even small policy changes can directly impact patient lives.
The QNMU will continue to campaign for nurse to resident ratios in aged care to provide better outcomes and quality of life for elderly Australians.