Midwife of the Year finalists
John Flynn Private Hospital, QLD
Melanie Boulter is recognised for giving exceptional care to families over her 20 years at Ramsay Health Care's John Flynn Private Hospital on the Gold Coast. Melanie is experienced in many areas of midwifery, including high-risk pregnancies, teaching neonatal resuscitation and caring for babies with specific requirements.
Melanie was instrumental in implementing the hospital’s Know My Midwife program, which combines the midwifery and private medical care models to promote women-centred care. The program enables families to feel empowered in their models of care and birth choices.
As the program’s lactation consultant, Melanie is passionate about post-natal support and advises families on post-natal care and breast feeding to ensure every family has the information needed to help their baby thrive. During COVID she has been exceptional in caring for families after discharge.
Importantly Melanie is also one of the hospital’s most experienced educators and is always willing to impart her knowledge onto the midwifery and medical students.
Despite having an incredibly tough year in 2020, Mel’s positivity, resilience and desire to continue learning inspires the team at John Flynn Private Hospital.
Bega Garnbirringu, WA
Janelle Dillon is recognised for her tireless work to create a safe space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to receive pregnancy care in Kalgoorlie, WA.
Janelle has worked hard to become an Endorsed Midwife, a Diabetes Educator and to be immunisation-competent, all to ensure she provides comprehensive midwifery services to the women in her care.
Thanks to her caring and compassionate personality, Janelle builds trust and rapport quickly with her clients. This mutual respect and understanding helps Janelle break down barriers and enables the women she sees to feel empowered. When these women are too shy to contact the maternity ward, they call Janelle.
Janelle’s work has reduced pregnancy risk and potentially saved lives – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Kalgoorlie are receiving high-quality antenatal care and experience lower-risk pregnancies and deliveries.
Janelle plans to use the prize money to improve her skills and knowledge, including around Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and managing family violence issues, to provide a holistic healthcare experience for the women who visit Bega Garnbirringu.
Nurse of the Year finalists
Queensland University of Technology and Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Health, QLD
Professor Raymond Chan is recognised for his contribution to cancer nursing and supportive cancer care research and practice. He also developed a model of care that recognises the essential role of nurses in cancer care.
His work has led to the widespread adoption of a novel silicone-based gel dressing to prevent and better manage the side effects of radiation treatment in cancer patients. As a result, thousands of cancer patients in Australia and overseas won’t experience this painful side effect.
Raymond developed a nurse-enabled model of post-treatment cancer care involving patients’ primary care providers. This has been supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council in seven sites around Australia, resulting in thousands of breast cancer patients receiving optimal, integrated care with input from their specialist as well as GPs and practice nurses.
An internationally renowned cancer nurse leader and researcher, Raymond has shared his work widely through influential publications. His leadership has been recognised through appointments at numerous national and international organisations, where he has contributed to the high standing of nursing in Australia.
Infection Prevention Control Advice and Response unit, Department of Health, VIC
Nicole Cummins is recognised for her exceptional leadership of Victoria’s COVID rapid response nursing team and for helping improve infection prevention and control practices worldwide.
Nicole is the Director of Victoria’s Infection Prevention Control Advice and Response (IPCAR) unit. At the height of the pandemic in Victoria, she led a committed team of 70 nurses and infection control specialists that responded to COVID outbreak sites across the state, including at Melbourne’s public housing towers, aged care facilities, airports and schools. Working in high-risk and extremely challenging circumstances, Nicole demonstrated incredible professionalism and compassion. Under her leadership, the IPCAR team contributed directly to slowing the spread of COVID through the community.
Nicole and her team led the development of COVID response guidelines. These resources have been shared and adopted by Australian states and other countries and used to train thousands of frontline workers. These practices are widely recognised as being the gold standard in COVID pandemic response.
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, The University of Sydney, NSW
Shannon Philp is recognised for her contribution to nursing education and patient-centred care, particularly for women with gynaecological cancers.
As the first nurse practitioner in gynae-oncology in Australia, Shannon has developed new and innovative models of patient-centred care that have increased access to support and improved the care of women with gynaecological cancers. One of these programs aims to ensure women recover quickly after surgery with minimal complications. As a result of their success, these models have been adopted by other specialties.
Shannon has worked to improve post-surgery recovery for women and provide support on the physical, psychological, emotional and social impacts of the disease, including through sexual intimacy counselling.
Underpinned by research, her patient-centred model of care has led to important changes in practice and demonstrably better outcomes for women. She is dedicated to passing on her skills and knowledge and has published extensively, sharing the outcomes of her work to improve care of women with gynaecological cancer.
Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC
Simone Sheridan is recognised for her work to improve education for nurses around managing family violence and sexual health issues, and to support health professionals in isolation due to COVID.
A passionate nurse educator, Simone is the Lead Nurse Advocate on the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Family Safety Team. She has empowered nurses to recognise and respond to signs of family violence in their patients and to better manage conversations about sexual health. She has also worked to improve care for Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) patients. Collaborating with the Zoe Belle Gender Collective and a social worker, she developed a staff training package on TGD Affirmative Practice that has been delivered to more than 400 nurses.
Simone also played a critical role in supporting her fellow health professionals. She co-designed a support system for hundreds of Royal Melbourne Hospital staff in quarantine or isolation due to COVID and developed a policy around the prevention and reporting of sexual harassment of nurses in the workplace.
Simone co-authored her story of working during the COVID-19 pandemic, – a book called ‘The Care Factor – a story of nursing and connection in a time of social distancing’. She plans to present the book at nursing schools, conferences and events to bring recognition to and advocate for the sector.
Outstanding Organisation finalists
Monash Nursing and Midwifery is recognised for their work with Victoria’s Department of Health to provide targeted infection control education and training to the Victorian aged care workforce during the pandemic.
The training program focused on the effective application of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and was designed to support aged care professionals – from nurses to cleaners, garden staff and CEOs – to adapt to the high-risk and changing environment posed by COVID.
Monash Nursing and Midwifery hosted 300 training sessions – attended by approximately 3500 people – and has trained more than 1000 Facility Champions.
Feedback received after the training was overwhelmingly positive, with participants reporting staff are stringent in correctly donning and doffing PPE, ensuring they are protected while at work.
Monash Nursing and Midwifery would like to use the prize money to continue delivering the program to rural and remote communities that would otherwise struggle to access these training opportunities.
Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria is recognised for their work supporting Victorian nurses, midwifes, as well as student nurses and midwives, during the COVID pandemic.
Designed by nurses, Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria is a free, confidential and independent support service for nurses, midwives and students experiencing sensitive health issues. The organisation has supported more than 3000 of Victoria’s caring workforce.
With COVID having a significant impact on the nurse and midwife health and wellbeing, the organisation quickly adapted their service delivery. A telehealth platform was created, new staff were trained and all consultations were altered so clinicians could work from home. They also created COVID-specific health and wellbeing resources including podcasts, interactive forums and self-care plans.
From August to December 2020, there was a 55% increase in the number of Victorian nurses, midwives and students seeking, and provided support compared to 2019.
Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria plans to continue improving their telehealth and video health services to ensure every Victorian nurse and midwife gets the support they need.
Ramsay Health Care Australia is recognised for their work to improve environmental sustainability across its facilities, including through cutting down greenhouse gas emissions and single-use plastics.
Following the devastating bushfires, drought and floods in 2019 and 2020 and in response to strong feedback from nurse practitioners and other employees who cared deeply about creating a more sustainable future, Ramsay Health Care Australia established an Environmental Sustainability Fund to help Ramsay facilities take steps to address climate change. Funded projects have included installing energy-efficient lighting, reducing reliance on single-use plastics and lessening water wastage.
In the 2020 Financial Year, Ramsay Health Care Australia recycled 39% of its general waste – an impressive figure considering the increase in PPE requirements during the pandemic.
Over 98% of the organisation’s unwanted IT assets have been recycled, processed or remarketed. Ramsey Health Care Australia also worked with e-waste organisation Sims to recycle an incredible 4207 kilograms of e-waste into new materials.
Ramsay Health Care Australia would like to grow engagement around environmental sustainability to as part of its commitment to caring for the planet through its Ramsay Cares sustainability strategy.