COUNTRY star Emma Dykes is known for her tunes and talent on the stage, but she's also a trained nurse and knows what it's like to work on the front line in a crisis.
Those two passions - health work and songwriting - are married together in her latest single This Nurse, which dropped this week.
"It's something I'd never really thought to write about before," she said.
Dykes, who hails from Inverell, said her new single is designed to be an anthem for nurses, a song they could sing and dance along to after a hard shift.
"Nurses are known to have a bit of a warped sense of humour at times, but I think that's the way often that we deal with the emotion, like they say 'what doesn't make you laugh makes you cry'," she said.
Conicidentally, the tribute tune to health workers was released in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and Dykes said it's taken on even greater meaning.
"This song might be a little bit of a lighter look at it, and for those nurses working front-line at the moment, to let them know how much we appreciate them and how grateful we are that they're there," she said.
Despite working as a nurse, Dykes' latest hospital interaction was on the other side of the clipboard. She was a patient in her local maternity ward, giving birth to her first baby.
"It reminded me how important it is as a nurse to always have a good attitude, because I struggled being quite anxious through the whole birthing experience," she said.
"You can make or break someone when they're in a vulnerable situation."
Although she was on maternity leave during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, Dykes is no stranger to the risks of infectious diseases.
"In previous pandemics like swine flu ... I have been on the front line and I know how scary that can be and I know that as a nurse you put yourself on the line a bit to look after other people coming through," she said.
The ward where Dykes gave birth to her baby boy was also the ward where her late friend Ric, the inspiration for Dykes' latest album The Riddle of Life, used to work as a midwife before she tragically passed away.
"This song was written while Ric was sick, it was nice experience to go in and be a patient in the maternity unit that she used to work in and have some of the midwives that worked with her look after me," she said.
This Nurse was written with Matt Scullion and has been released on streaming platforms. Dykes' latest albumis available on her website.