Nurses, midwives and nursing and midwifery students are in a respected and vital position, providing care to individuals and their families within a diverse range of settings across Australia. As with any member of the community, they are not immune to experiencing health issues.

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Workplace conditions and demands can increase the risk of nurses, midwives and students developing health issues and illnesses. If left untreated, health issues can progress and impair their ability to safely, competently and professionally practise, putting the public and themselves at risk of harm. 

By taking the time to look after their own physical, emotional and psychological needs, nurses, midwives and students will improve their own health and better equip themselves to look after those in their care.

Australian health report

The 2011-12 Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Health Survey shows that 63% of the adult population are either overweight or obese and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reported in 2015 approximately half the population has a chronic disease with around 20% having two or more diagnosed chronic health conditions such as arthritis, asthma, back problems, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or mental health conditions. The statistics indicate that mental health and dementia related health issues are on the rise.

pie chart

64.9% of nurses and midwives in Australia experience at least one chronic disease, which included depression, hypertension and asthma. The most commonly reported health issue included bodily pain, severe tiredness, stiff joints and sleep issues (Perry et al 2016).


In this section you will find tips and strategies for maintaining health and wellbeing including exercise, mindfulness and sleep. If you would like to suggest additional topics you can contact us.


Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2013. Australian Health Survey: updated results, 2011–2012. ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.003. Canberra: ABS.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2015. 1 in 5 Australians affected by multiple chronic diseases, media release, 12 August, Canberra.

Perry, L., Gallagher, R., Duffield, C., Sibbritt, D., Bichel-Findlay, J., & Nicholls, R. (2016). Does nurses’ health affect their intention to remain in their current position? Journal of Nursing Management, 24(8), 1088-1097. doi: 10.1111/jonm.12412.