media release


09 April 2019


HESTA announces finalists in national nursing & midwifery awards 


Twelve of Australia’s most outstanding nurses and midwives have been announced as finalists in the 2019 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards.

New South Wales and Victorian nurses, midwives and teams swept the awards with nine finalists belonging to either state across the three awards categories.

In its 13th year, the sector’s most prestigious awards recognise nurses, midwives and teams for their professionalism, innovation and care across a range of health settings.

HESTA CEO, Debby Blakey, said this year’s finalists were chosen from an outstanding field of quality nominations, noting that this year was especially significant as it was the first time midwives and nurses had the opportunity to be recognised in their own individual awards categories.

“We’re very proud to formally recognise the unique educational requirements, expertise, and skills of the midwifery and nursing professions by separating the Nurse or Midwife of the Year category into two separate awards,” Ms Blakey said.

“This recognises the significant impact both professions have on the lives of Australians and how each profession uniquely contributes to the delivery of health care across the country.”

“This year’s finalists have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to patient care and clinical improvement and through these Awards we’re honoured to help shine a light on their amazing work.”

Longstanding Awards sponsor ME – the bank for you, are generously providing the $30,000 prize pool, to be divided among the winners in the three award categories — Nurse of the Year, Midwife of the Year and Team Excellence.

Award winners will receive $10,000 towards further education or team development.

ME CEO, Jamie McPhee, said that ME is incredibly honoured to have been supporting these awards since 2007.

“Nursing professionals and midwives provide a service vital to the Australian community. They are challenging roles that are also often under-recognised, which is why these awards are so important in shining a spotlight on the exceptional work they do.”

Winners will be announced at the 2019 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards dinner in Melbourne on Thursday 9 May.

Find out more about the Awards at

The 2019 finalists are:

Nurse of the Year:

Karina So
Concord Repatriation General Hospital
Concord, NSW

Recognised for her dedication to improving clinical care standards and the health outcomes of patients with urological and continence management conditions.

Professor Kate Curtis
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District
Wollongong, NSW

Recognised for her work as a trauma nurse tirelessly advocating to reduce the impact of trauma injury on patients and for improving emergency hospital care across Australia and internationally, particularly for children.

Sheila Salonga
Epworth Hospital Richmond
Richmond, VIC

Recognised for her leadership as acting Nurse Unit Manager building an inclusive team culture that led to improved patient care outcomes in the Epworth Hospital intensive care unit.

Tracy Aylen
Bolton Clarke
Forest Hill, VIC

Recognised for her work in improving diabetes education and care for older Australians and for her leadership in the development of national diabetes policy.

Midwife of the Year

Cherisse Buzzacott
Australian College of Midwives
Civic, ACT

Recognised for her work in providing culturally safe maternity care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and for advocating for health care services that provide culturally appropriate care that enables women to birth on country.

Jo Hunter
Privately Practising Midwife
Springwood, NSW

Recognised for her work as a private practicing midwife, providing woman-centred care that’s focused on the individual and their unique needs, expectations, and aspirations.

Lorraine McGowan
Hedland Health Campus
South Hedland, WA

Recognised for her dedication to empowering women during their pregnancy and birth, ensuring they are supported with adequate information so that they can make informed choices about their health care.

Tracey Stephens
Monash Health
Clayton, VIC

Recognised for improving maternity and health care outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and babies by implementing culturally appropriate and safe maternity health care services.

Team Excellence

Community Outreach Nurse Program
Anam Cara House Geelong
Geelong, VIC

Recognised for developing the Community Outreach Nurse Program that links people with life-limiting illnesses to community palliative care services.

Inspired Team
Calvary Public Hospital Bruce – Clare Holland House
Barton, ACT

Recognised for developing, trialling and testing a new integrated model of palliative care delivery for residential aged care residents requiring end-of-life care.

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead
Westmead, NSW

Recognised for developing a 24-hour state-wide burns referral and consultation service that provides remote specialised advice and burns management recommendations to clinicians treating children in NSW and this model of care was rolled out to the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

St George Hospital Redevelopment Team
St George Hospital
Kogarah, NSW

Recognised for their patient-focused approach when managing the redevelopment of the St George Hospital Acute Services building.

Media contact:

Sam Riley

Media Relations Manager

(03) 8660 1684


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