Midwife of the Year finalists
As Dhelkaya Health’s Midwifery Clinical Coordinator and Educator, April is a highly skilled and passionate Midwife and Nurse responsible for leading and managing the Midwifery Group Practice program that has proven to be highly valued by women in the area and has improved care outcomes.
April’s exceptional leadership has helped unite the multidisciplinary team and establish a safe working environment to provide a very high standard of care. She works tirelessly and is devoted to her patients.
In addition to her leadership skills, April has spent considerable time finessing her midwifery expertise and knowledge through her various qualifications. April played a pivotal part in encouraging women to take part in studies evaluating women’s views and experiences of maternity care, with women stating they were highly satisfied with the care they received, throughout their pregnancies, labour and birth, and post-birth.
Hunter New England Local Health District
Elizabeth (Libby) has dedicated her 30-year career to rural midwifery. She is currently the Inverell Maternity Unit and Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Service Manager and an exceptional leader of Rural Midwifery Services.
Improving health outcomes of rural women, babies and their families is at the heart of Libby’s service to the community. She is a champion for change in the Inverell Maternity Unit; and is also an advocate for student and graduate midwifes in rural maternity units. This advocacy has led to the implementation of one of the first rural midwifery practice programs in the Hunter region for graduate midwives.
Libby has also led the way on many different quality improvement projects over the years for all Hunter New England Health staff and for the hard-working Graduate midwives.
Nurse of the Year finalists
Ti Tree Health Clinic
Ti Tree, NT
Caitlin is recognised for her efforts as a Remote Area Nurse within the Central Australian Health Service.
As a primary caregiver in a small and remote community, Caitlin supports multiple First Nations communities with chronic disease management, children’s health, women’s health, antenatal and primary health care and works on call to manage emergency situations.
Caitlin shows incredible understanding, empathy and cultural respect to all communities and takes a compassionate and holistic care approach to her work. This has enabled Caitlin to build strong community connections based on mutual respect and trust.
With many remote communities not having a regular midwife, Caitlin’s work in collaboration with outreach midwives and general practitioners helped reduce a barrier to accessing regular services such as Cervical Screening and accessing contraception.
In the future, Caitlin plans to enhance her professional development as a Remote Area Nurse and is currently studying to become a Nurse Practitioner.
Central Australian Aboriginal Congress
Alice Springs, NT
Kathleen is nominated for her dedication over many decades to improving the health outcomes of First Nations people, providing acute care and palliative management to patients with end stage renal disease.
Known for being compassionate and empathetic, with a committed, respectful, and insightful approach during difficult times for her patients, Kathleen provides an exceptional program in primary health. This has resulted in more First Nations people engaging with healthcare at a time of vulnerability when confronted with end stage renal disease. In turn, her patients experience a better quality of life and quantity of life due to active participation in their health care.
Kathleen’s program began in 2010 with 10 patients and has expanded in 2022 to 108 patients.
Kathleen hopes to purchase a professional education model of a demonstration arm to discuss the pros and cons of haemodialysis with patients.
Hunter New England Local Health District
Fiona is recognised for her outstanding career as a leader and consumer advocate in pain management. She has worked in all aspects of pain service delivery including acute, chronic and cancer pain, education, strategic planning and research. She led the development of a web-based pain management toolkit to assist clinicians and consumers, with a wider team at the NSW Agency of Clinical Innovation pain management network.
Fiona was president of the Australian Pain Society and Chronic Pain Australia, whom she has volunteered with for 12 years. Her passion for advocating for people experiencing pain is evidenced by her ongoing clinical and consumer representation on national committees and working parties.
Over the past five years, Fiona has focused on specific vulnerable groups of pain patients, such as the elderly and women experiencing chronic pelvic pain. This has culminated in the development a new patient centred Pelvic Pain Model of Care with Dr Ksenia Katyk.
Jeanette is nominated for her tireless efforts to reach marginalised and vulnerable people living with or at risk of dangerous liver diseases (particularly viral hepatitis), helping remove the barriers from access to vital healthcare.
As a Community Nurse, Jeanette improves and saves the lives of Queenslanders by leading the Hepatitis Queensland Be Liver Smart clinics. She also played a pivotal part in Hepatitis Queensland’s innovative community nurse-led health programs, and the Community Corrections Hepatitis Testing and Treatment Clinics.
Despite working part-time in 2022, Jeanette screened almost 600 Queenslanders for liver disease. She also educated around 100 healthcare employees on viral hepatitis and liver health and ensured 21 Hepatitis C positive clients commenced curative treatment.
Her approach breaks down barriers and connects people with low health-seeking behaviours to life-changing healthcare.
Outstanding Organisation finalists
Sunny Street is a nurse-driven primary care and mental health service for Australians experiencing homelessness and poverty, who may be alienated from the mainstream health system.
The organisation was co-founded by Sonia Martin, a Registered Nurse for 30 years, who established the service from a car boot using a nursing kit.
The Sunny Street Hospital nurses provide healthcare ‘outside of the box’ and are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of local communities, by actively dismantling barries to primary health and mental health accessibility, equity, and affordability.
The team’s alternate model of healthcare sees them engage patients with a lived experience of poverty and homelessness, and harness regional data to provide better care outcomes.
Since 2018, the service has had over 30,000 conversations and consultations with vulnerable Australians, reducing presentations and associated costs for local Hospitals and Health Services.
MH Connext is recognised for its tireless efforts in going above and beyond to support people experiencing severe and complex mental health distress.
Since the program commenced in 2017, at Richmond Wellbeing, MH Connext has received more than 1500 referrals from over 300 GP clinics across the Perth metro area. The program has had a significant impact on people experiencing mental health distress, reaching many people who would not otherwise receive appropriate and timely support.
Central to the program’s success are the nine experienced and specialised Mental Health Nurses with strong communication and interpersonal skills who work in partnership with GPs, supporting patients on their recovery journey in a comfortable and safe setting.
MH Connext, is a Richmond Wellbeing service, made possible through funding from the WA Primary Health Alliance, provided by the Australian Government under the Primary Health Networks Program
MH Connext plans to provide nurses with much-needed specialist training; and increase service awareness.
South Eastern Melbourne, VIC
Victoria’s largest public health service, Monash Health is recognised for establishing a robust recruitment pipeline for Registered Undergraduate Students and Nursing and Midwifery (RUSON/Ms) to help sustain a flexible nursing and midwifery workforce to care for patients throughout the pandemic.
The team recruited over 650 first, second and third year RUSON/Ms (undertaking their second to fourth year of study) to enter the workforce and work alongside more experienced nurses in a team nursing model. This provided invaluable on the job experience and supported a transition to increased work readiness as they finished their studies and entered the profession.
RUSON/Ms were incorporated into the care teams when roster shortfalls due to unplanned leave and illness was experienced at the height of the pandemic, ensuring patients continued to receive excellent care in a timely manner.
Confidence, skill level and job satisfaction for the RUSON/Ms who progress to Graduates has improved. This has ultimately led to better health outcomes with improved patient care from a confident, flexible, and adaptive workforce, and made a positive influence on staff wellbeing.