We were engaged to edit this book in March 2023. It was due at the printer two months later.
Stories arrived in a steady stream from March to April. The brief was to publish fifty, but how to choose? We wanted breadth—voices from regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne; from acute care, aged care, community health, primary health and so on. From nurses and midwives starting out as well as those who’d already seen it all. Different experiences and different views.
We selected stories accordingly—but then how to organise them? Almost to a person, members told us they experienced the pandemic as professionals and as people; they saw the good and the bad; they worked incredibly hard; they changed personally and professionally; and through it all, they tried to make sense of, and find a purpose in, what they were living out. These clear messages shaped our chapters.
We included seventy-six reflections in the book—Head on: how Victorian nurses and midwives confronted COVID—and ninety-four on the companion website. For any disappointment about the selections or any errors we have made, we apologise. For the privilege of editing and curating this collection, we thank the ANMF (Victorian Branch) and all who shared their stories. We, too, are changed.
Yvonne Kelley and Jessie Byrne