Nursing advocate, SA Health boss receive leadership awards


Friday, 04 March, 2022

Nursing advocate, SA Health boss receive leadership awards

Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) has announced that Australian health professionals, CEO of Australian College of Nursing Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward and Chief Public Health Officer of SA Health Professor Nicola Spurrier PSM have received the 2022 state awards at the Australian Awards for Excellence in Women’s Leadership.

Nominated by members of the public, the awards celebrate women who’ve led across various industries and capacities across Australia, specifically those who have made outstanding contributions to the narrative of leadership equality.

Winning the ACT State Award and with honorary academic appointments with five Australian universities, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward is committed to creating a platform for nurses to use their voices and change the way policies and health decisions are made. She has secured government funding to deliver refresher courses to non-clinical registered nurses (RNs) as well as funding to deliver the online COVID-19 vaccine training course, which all clinicians must undertake before administering.

“When women’s experiences and perspectives are shared and heard at the decision-making tables, we all benefit — even more so in health. 70% of our health workforce and 92% of the 400,000 Australian nurses are female, and yet, our voice has long been under-represented and misrepresented in key policy and program decisions. Women have carried us through the pandemic; the time for women’s leadership to be respected and valued is now,” said Adjunct Professor Ward. She will accept her award at the Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium in Canberra on 13 May 2022.

Taking out the SA honour, dual-qualified medical specialist, public health physician and paediatrician Professor Nicola Spurrier PSM specialises in developing and implementing policies and programs across child health, obesity prevention and Aboriginal health. During COVID-19, Spurrier has been instrumental in South Australia’s effective virus response, rendering it one of the safest places in the world. Dr Spurrier will accept her award at the online Australian Health Sector Women’s Leadership Summit on 25 March 2022.

Professor Nicola Spurrier

“It is truly an honour to be recognised in this way with such an outstanding group of female leaders — both previous winners and this year’s cohort of award recipients. It’s been a privilege to serve the community over the past two years as we have learnt from, and adapted to, the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I will continue to do my best to keep all South Australians safe through provision of clear and accurate information and advice,” said Professor Spurrier PSM.

Along with Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward and Professor Nicola Spurrier PSM being named the Awards’ ACT and SA State winners respectively, WLA announced a raft of inspiring women as state and territory award recipients including Christine Holgate, CEO of Toll Global Express (National); Disability Advocate and Media Professional, Lisa Cox (Qld); The Remarkable Woman CEO and Founder, Shivani Gopal (NSW); IPS Management Consultants Executive Director, Jahna Cedar OAM (WA); Djirra CEO and National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Co-Chair, Antoinette Braybrook (Vic); Chief Plant Officer, Dr Anne Walters (NT); Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu, renowned artist, activist, writer and public speaker, Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM (NT); and 28th Governor of Tasmania, Professor Kate Warner AC (Tas).

WLA CEO Suzi Finkelstein commended the award winners for bolstering visibility and building momentum for gender equity in leadership positions across all industries and the broader community, particularly amidst the uncertainty and upheaval of modern times.

“We are delighted to honour Adjunct Professor Ward and Professor Spurrier, who have both continued to demonstrate outstanding contributions to gender equity and paving the way for emerging women in leadership roles — particularly in the nursing and public health sector, and at a time when nurses and health professionals have been placed under unprecedented pressure,” she said.

The 2022 Australian Awards for Excellence in Women’s Leadership will be presented at various women’s leadership events throughout the year.

Top image: Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward

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