media release 


12 April 2022   


Nurses and midwives' critical work during pandemic recognised as national HESTA Awards finalists revealed


The extraordinary work of nurses and midwives to improve health outcomes during the pandemic was today recognised with eight finalists announced for the 2022 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards.


Finalist achievements included establishing a program to provide specialised care to those experiencing family violence, leadership in the face of two ‘waves’ of COVID-19 outbreaks and developing the first Aboriginal-led maternity model of care in Australia.


HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said she was humbled by the finalists’ hard work to provide exceptional healthcare to their communities, which was critical during the pandemic.


“Australia owes a great debt to our nurses and midwives,” Ms Blakey said. 

“They are a critical part of our healthcare system and have worked tirelessly to keep our communities safe. The work done, not only by our finalists but by all in the sector, to advocate for their patients’ care and long-term wellbeing is truly inspirational.


“Congratulations and thank you to every single nominee and finalist for their leadership and dedication – we are so proud of the incredible contribution you make and we feel very privileged to have this opportunity to help shine a spotlight on your achievements.” 


These widely recognised national Awards, now in their 16th year, pay tribute to the outstanding contribution Australia’s nurses, midwives, nurse educators, researchers and personal care workers make to improving health outcomes. 


An independent judging panel, comprised of sector representatives, reviewed many outstanding nominations to select finalists across the Nurse of the Year, Midwife of the Year and Outstanding Organisation categories. 


Long-time Awards supporter ME – the bank for you – has donated $30,000 in prize money to be split equally between the winners for professional development or to improve workplace services or processes. 


ME CEO Martine Jager said the bank was thrilled to continue recognising the amazing efforts and achievements of these health professionals. 


“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the healthcare system simply couldn’t function without nurses, midwives and personal care workers and those who train them,” Ms Jager said. 


“We acknowledge and thank all of this year’s finalists for their commitment, dedication and incredibly hard work, especially during these challenging times.”


Winners will be revealed on 19 May 2022 at an Awards ceremony in Melbourne, subject to COVID-19 safety restrictions. 


For more information, visit


The 2022 finalists are:




Karen Bellamy
Monash Health
Clayton VIC

Karen Bellamy is recognised for her leadership and contribution to the COVID-19 response and national vaccine rollout. With over 25 years’ experience specialising in immunisation, Karen is currently the Monash Health Coordinator for the COVID-19 Victorian Specialist Immunisation Services (VicSIS).

Sue Hegarty
Ovarian Cancer Australia
Melbourne VIC

Sue Hegarty is recognised for her exceptional advocacy and support for women with ovarian cancer.

She has worked tirelessly to increase funding for ovarian cancer research and support services, including spearheading the development of Australia’s first ovarian cancer telehealth program.


Talay Quinlan
Micah Projects
West End QLD

Talay Quinlan is recognised for her outstanding work in providing an integrated response to support women and children experiencing domestic and family violence as a Clinical Domestic Violence Nurse.




Melanie Briggs
Waminda South Coast Women's Health & Welfare Aboriginal Corporation

Binjilaanii Maternity Services Pty Ltd
Nowra NSW

Melanie Briggs is recognised for her work to improve First Nations’ maternal and infant health.
A descendant of the Dharawal and Gumbayngirr peoples, Melanie is the Director and Founder of Binjilaani, the first Aboriginal-led maternity model of care in Australia.


Teresa Walsh
New Life Midwifery
Ipswich QLD

Teresa Walsh is recognised for her contribution to maternity care and innovation through establishing and managing one of the first private midwifery practices in the country, New Life Midwifery. The practice offers women one-to-one continuity of midwifery care in collaboration with public hospital obstetric services based on a woman’s individual wishes and health needs.

Sarah Watts
Bendigo Health for the Loddon Mallee Region
Bendigo VIC

Sarah Watts is recognised for her exceptional leadership and work in regional and rural communities. With over 20 years’ experience as a midwife, Sarah has been critical to improving the safety and sustainability of maternity services to regional and rural communities.


Liverpool Hospital

Liverpool NSW

Liverpool Hospital is recognised for the incredible effort of their nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic when they were at the epicentre of two ‘waves’ of outbreaks, including the Delta strain. It is thanks to their tireless work that hundreds of lives were saved, and thousands of patients were cared for with kindness and compassion across the organisation.


Beaudesert Hospital Maternity

Beaudesert QLD

Beaudesert Hospital Maternity is recognised for its commitment to improving the health and safety of women and babies in rural Queensland by providing high-quality maternity services to the local community. Beaudesert Hospital Maternity supports First Nations women by providing safe, culturally appropriate care. 




Media contact:

Sam Riley

General Manager Media Relations

(03) 8660 1684


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