Jean Hailes and APNA partner for Women's Health Week

Media release: 27 July 2020

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health and the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) believe regular health checks and screenings should be an essential part of every woman’s health routine. This year, the two have partnered for Women’s Health Week as a timely reminder to all women and girls to know about, and to stay up to date with their health checks.

Women’s Health Week is a national campaign presented by Jean Hailes that aims to improve the health of all women and girls in Australia. Held annually in September (7-11 September 2020), the campaign encourages women to learn about, and take positive and proactive steps to being healthy in mind and body.

Jean Hailes Patron and Interim CEO Janet Michelmore AO says Jean Hailes is thrilled to be partnering with APNA on this important health awareness campaign. “Health carers play such an important role in women’s health. These frontline professionals not only perform vital health checks and screenings, but support women on their health journeys,” says Ms Michelmore.

“We know many women do not prioritise their health above that of their family. And with the hiatus caused by COVID-19, health checks and other wellbeing matters may have fallen off their ‘to-do’ lists. Together with APNA, we are asking women and their health care professionals to use the week to review and schedule any health checks that may have been missed over the past few months,” says Ms Michelmore.

APNA is the peak professional body for the 82,000 nurses working in primary health care settings including general practices, aged care facilities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health clinics.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Women’s Health Week to help reach women around Australia with important messages about looking after their health,” says APNA President Karen Booth. “As the largest workforce in primary health care, nurses are well placed to spread the word.  We also know that 98 per cent of our members are female, so this campaign is a reminder that self-care is just as important for nurses as it is for patients.”

This has certainly been the case for APNA member and Registered Nurse Sonja Hartnett who has recovered from a brain condition that threatened to severely limit her mobility.

Ms Hartnett had suffered for years from severe headaches and nausea before discovering she had Chiari syndrome, where brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. This was picked up during a medical check and then surgically repaired. Ms Hartnett now leads a pain-free life, runs in half-marathons and tends her half-acre garden in Melbourne’s Yarra Ranges.

She offers this advice, based on her own experience: “You should never dismiss symptoms or brush them aside; it’s your body trying to tell you something. Take it from me, it’s really important to get health checks.”

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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