Announced today, 2020 International Day of the Nurse, are the winners of the ACT 2020 Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards.
The 2020 Excellence Awards reflect contemporary scopes of best practice that recognise and acknowledge the exceptional contribution that nurses and midwives make in the lives of the clients they serve, within the broader community and to their professions.
The awards are an annual event to recognise the contribution nurses and midwives make towards the health and wellbeing of the Canberra community.
In revealing the award recipients Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA expressed the significance of this year for all nurses and midwives and why this year’s awards are so important.
“Globally, 2020 is being marked as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and given the exceptional events we’re facing, it is very timely to acknowledge just how much we value the contribution of all nurses and midwives make to looking after and caring for our community.
“Our nurses and midwives have a great impact on the lives of people in our community. As we face the challenges of COVID-19, nurses and midwives across our health system have not wavered in their ability to deliver high quality, people centred health care,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.
Mr Christopher Harris, Nurse of the Year, said he shared this award with his Stromlo Ward team.
“This award is not just for me, it’s for the whole team I work with, particularly at the moment we are working really hard to get amazing patient outcomes and staff culture. Without them I would not be in this position. So I share this with a lot of people.”
“We want to make change happen,’ said Shannon Narracott, who along with Britt Shephard, comprise the ACT’s Nursing Team of the Year, when speaking about what this year’s award win meant to them.
“We feel strongly about mental health and in particular suicide awareness and prevention. That’s something we weren’t aware of the prevalence of until we started working in the Emergency Department.”
Midwife of the Year Kathy Coonan described how being a midwife is just naturally a part of her, almost like its in her genes and how she can’t imagine doing anything else.
“I come from a family of nurses. My sister and my mother were my inspiration and I always wanted to be a midwife and help women and their babies. Caring for premature and sick babies and helping their parents through a very difficult time is what motivates me to do my best every single day in my job,” said Kathy.
The ACT Health Directorate’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Anthony Dombkins said the winners are all well-deserving of their awards.
“This year’s award recipients, as nominated by their peers, demonstrate the highest standards within their winning categories. The skill, compassion, dedication and commitment to the health industry requires the highest of praise - these winners are great role models to the profession,” Mr Dombkins said.
“Nurses, in all kinds of roles, do incredible jobs every day caring for and helping our community. It’s great that we can acknowledge their efforts in such a meaningful way.”
Meet this year’s winners below:
Nurse of the Year - Christopher Harris, University of Canberra Hospital
Christopher is a Clinical Nurse Consultant at the University of Canberra Hospital. He was nominated for meeting all clinical goals; supporting staff in their pursuit of professional education; modelling exemplary professional behaviour and providing consistent leadership. Under his leadership, the Stromlo Ward achieved the highest rating in a staff culture survey.
Midwife of the Year – Kathy Coonan, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce
Kathy is a Neonatal Midwife at Calvary Public Hospital Bruce. Kathy was nominated for her dedication to her career of providing babies, mothers and families the best care during a challenging time in their life. A role model for staff to aspire to, Kathy began her midwifery career in Canberra in 1983 and was of the team that established the Newborn and Parent Support Service at The Canberra Hospital in the mid-1990s, the program to this day allows premature babies to be discharged earlier with skilled neonatal clinicians caring for the family in their home.
Team of the Year – Britt Shephard and Shannon Narracott, Canberra Health Services
Britt Shephard and Shannon Narracott are Registered Nurses in the Emergency Department at The Canberra Hospital. The pair are passionate voices and advocates for vulnerable patients with an interest in suicide prevention and education, organising the 2019 Suicide Prevention Ball that raised more than $41,000 for the Black Dog Institute.
Excellence in Quality Improvement/Research – Nikki Johnston, Clare Holland House
Nikki was nominated for her ongoing commitment to improving care for people living in residential aged care facilities and leading the effective integration of evidence-based knowledge into practice through Palliative Care Needs Rounds.
Excellence in Leadership – Heather Needham, Canberra Health Services
Heather was nominated for the leadership she’s shown in improving patient care, leading her team by effectively communicating expectations and devising innovative strategies to effectively resolve patient complaints and streamline the complaint process.
Excellence in Management – Mercy Lukose, Canberra Health Services
Mercy was nominated for her contribution to building a positive and powerful team spirit and displaying a collaborative approach to ensure the provision of person centred care.
Excellence in Educational Practice – Rachel Bilton-Simek, Clare Holland House
Rachel was nominated for her caring and professional nature and encouraging others to reflect on their practice and assist them to develop plans to engage in further education.
Excellence in Clinical Practice - Ward 11A Nursing Team, Canberra Health Services
The Ward 11A team were nominated for delivering compassionate and patient centred care and for treating each patient with respect, professionalism and kindness.
Pictured is Rhonda Maher accepting the award on behalf of the Ward 11A team.