Finalists for the 2021 HESTA Australian Nursing and Midwifery Awards have been announced, with the critical work of nurses and midwives during the global COVID-19 pandemic taking centre stage.
The efforts of the nine finalists include leading a nursing team that responded to COVID-19 outbreak sites in Victoria; creating a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training program to support the aged care workforce throughout the pandemic; and reducing pregnancy risk for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
The national awards, which have been running for 15 years, pay tribute to the contributions of Australia’s nurses, midwives, nurse educators, researchers and carers to improving health outcomes.
An independent judging panel, comprised of sector representatives, reviewed hundreds of nominations to select finalists across the three award categories – Nurse of the Year, Midwife of the Year and Outstanding Organisation.
Winners, to be revealed on 6 May in Melbourne, will share in $30,000 in prizemoney, for professional development or to improve services or processes in their workplace.
HESTA CEO Debbie Blakey said finalists’ hard work and achievements highlighted the sector’s critical importance during the pandemic and beyond.
“They have done everything and more to keep our communities healthy, safe and supported during some of our darkest times – it’s clear our nurses and midwives have an important role to play in creating a resilient and strong healthcare system, which is essential to our economic recovery post COVID.”
The 2021 finalists are:
NURSE OF THE YEAR
Nicole Cummins, 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, which responded to outbreak sites, including at Melbourne’s public housing towers and aged care facilities, and for helping improve infection prevention and control practices worldwide.
Raymond Chan, 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, including work that led to the widespread adoption of a novel silicone-based gel dressing to prevent and better manage radiation treatment side effects in cancer patients.
Shannon Philp, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW
Shannon Philp is recognised for her contribution to nursing education and patient-centred care, particularly for women with gynaecological cancers.
Simone Sheridan, 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.
MIDWIFE OF THE YEAR
Melanie Boulter, John Flynn Private Hospital, QLD
Melanie Boulter is recognised for giving exceptional care to families over her 20 years at John Flynn Private Hospital on the Gold Coast, including through her role in creating the hospital’s Know My Midwife program that combines the midwifery and private medical care models to promote women-centred care.
Janelle Dillon, 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, work that has reduced pregnancy risk and potentially saved lives.
Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria, VIC
Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria is recognised for their work supporting Victorian nurses, midwives and student nurses and midwifes during the COVID pandemic, including through telehealth sessions and the creation of COVID-specific health and wellbeing resources such as podcasts and self-care plans.
Monash University – Nursing and Midwifery, VIC
Monash Nursing and Midwifery is recognised for their work to deliver a training program developed by Monash and funded by Victoria’s Department of Health on the effective application of Personal Protective Equipment, specifically designed to support the Victorian aged care workforce to stay protected and safe while at work during COVID.
Ramsay Health Care Australia, NAT
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.