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Eight finalists have been revealed for next month’s 2022 HESTA Australian Nursing and Midwifery Awards, with the critical work carried out by the professions during the pandemic again in the spotlight.

The efforts of finalists include a nurse who established a program to provide specialised care to people experiencing domestic violence; a nurse who contributed to the COVID-19 response and national vaccine rollout; and a First Nations midwife who developed the first Aboriginal-led maternity model of care in the country.

The national awards, which have been running for 16 years and this year will be held in Melbourne on 19 May, recognise the extraordinary work of nurses, midwives, nurse educators, researchers and personal care workers to improving health outcomes.

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

Winners across three categories – Nurse of the Year, Midwife of the Year and Outstanding Organisation – will share in $30,000 prizemoney for professional development or to improve workplace services or processes.

The 2022 finalists are:


Karen Bellamy, Monash Health, 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, 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.

HESTA Awards Nurse of the Year Finalist, Talay Quinlan

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, 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.

HESTA Awards Midwife of the Year finalist – Melanie Briggs

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.

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