2021 HESTA Awards celebrate Australia's nurses and midwives
The HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards, held on 6 May 2021, celebrated the critical contributions of Australia’s nurses and midwives.
Nurse practitioner Shannon Philp was announced as the 2021 Nurse of the Year for her leadership and work through the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to improve care for women with gynaecological cancers, while Bega Garnbirringu Health Service’s Janelle Dillon was awarded Midwife of the Year for creating a safe space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, to receive pregnancy care.
Ramsay Health Care Australia took out the gong for Outstanding Organisation for its work to improve environmental sustainability across its private hospital facilities, which has included cutting greenhouse gas emissions and single-use plastics. This work was in response to strong feedback from nurse practitioners and other employees, who cared deeply about creating a more sustainable future.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey congratulated the three winners, acknowledging the incredible impact they have had in delivering improved health outcomes and care for Australians.
“This year’s winners prove our nurses and midwives are the backbone of our healthcare system,” Blakey said. “Their dedication, leadership and commitment to care is so inspiring to us all and has made an incredible difference to the health and wellbeing of so many people.
“I want to thank each and every finalist for their amazing work, and also the people who submitted a nomination — thank you for helping the team at HESTA tell their important stories.”
Now in their fifteenth year, the national awards pay tribute to the contributions of Australia’s nurses, midwives, nurse educators, researchers and personal care workers to improving health outcomes.
The three winners each received $10,000 for professional development or to improve services or processes in the workplace, with the prize money provided by ME — the bank for you.
ME CEO Adam Crane said the bank was proud to be a long-time supporter of the HESTA Awards program.
“These amazing winners will positively impact the lives of many patients across their careers,” Crane said. “The support we’re giving them is truly an investment in the community. These nurses, midwives and PCAs are true heroes.”
More about the 2021 winners
Ramsay Health Care Australia is recognised for its work to improve environmental sustainability across its facilities.
Chanelle McEnallay, Ramsay Health Care Australia’s Chief Risk Officer and Legal Services Director, said it was incredible for the nursing and midwifery staff to be recognised.
“We’ve put our heart and soul into this program. I’m beyond excited,” she said. “The staff are so engaged in sustainability. Everyone’s very keen on what we’re doing in this space because hospitals are so plastic intensive.”
Ramsay Health Care Australia established an Environmental Sustainability Fund to help Ramsay facilities take steps to address climate change. Funded projects have included installing energy-efficient lighting, reducing reliance on single-use plastics and reducing water wastage.
In the 2020 Financial Year, Ramsay Health Care Australia recycled 39% of its general waste and more than 98% of the organisation’s unwanted IT assets have been recycled, processed or remarketed. Ramsay Health Care Australia also worked with e-waste organisation Sims to recycle an incredible 4207 kilograms of e-waste into new materials.
Ramsay Health Care Australia plans to match the prize money ‘dollar for dollar’ and create their own sustainability program for their staff.
Nurse of the Year
Shannon Philp (Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, The University of Sydney, NSW) is recognised for her contribution to nursing education and patient-centred care, particularly for women with gynaecological cancers.
Philp said she was speechless and honoured to be named 2021 Nurse of the Year.
“These awards highlight the complexity of nursing, the professionalism and specialised care that nurses provide and also, the highly educated nursing workforce we have in our country,” she said.
As the first nurse practitioner in gynae-oncology in Australia, Philp has developed new and innovative models of patient-centred care that have increased access to support and improved the care of women with gynaecological cancers. One of these programs aims to ensure women recover quickly after surgery with minimal complications. As a result of their success, these models have been adopted by other specialties.
Underpinned by research, her patient-centred model of care has led to important changes in practice and demonstrably better outcomes for women.
“I hope to see many more cancer nurses follow in my footsteps because we can make a difference to patient outcomes and that’s why we love our jobs,” she said.
Philp said she would use the prize money for research to help improve women’s experience of colposcopy, as 2017 changes to the cervical screening guidelines has seen a dramatic increase in the number of women referred for this procedure.
“It’s an invasive thing for women to come in to have treatment and not knowing what’s going to happen. It’s an anxiety-provoking experience.”
Midwife of the Year
Janelle Dillon (Bega Garnbirringu Health Service, WA) 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.
Dillon said it was amazing to hear she had been named Midwife of the Year.
“It’s really hard to comprehend that a midwife from regional Western Australia, from Kalgoorlie, from Bega Garnbirringu Health Service isb recognised and can achieve this,” she said.
“I really feel for the wonderful women of Kalgoorlie. This is for them. This is me helping them.”
Dillon, who has more than 60 women in her care, said working as an Endorsed Midwife, a Diabetes Educator and Nurse Immuniser has meant she has experienced many rewarding moments throughout her career.
“I am so blessed that the Wongatha women of Kalgoorlie have allowed me into their lives. On a day-to-day basis they accept me into their community, and they let me walk side by side with them,” she said.
Thanks to her caring and compassionate personality, Dillon builds trust and rapport quickly with her clients. This mutual respect and understanding helps her break down barriers and enables the women she sees to feel empowered.
“One of my biggest joys this year is watching three young mothers, whom I cared for in their pregnancies and postnatally, commence the Aboriginal Health Workers Program at Bega Garnbirringu Health Service,” Dillon said.
Dillon’s work has reduced pregnancy risk and potentially saved lives — Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Kalgoorlie are receiving high-quality antenatal care and experience lower-risk pregnancies and deliveries.
“I would really like to thank GP-Obstetrician, Dr Joanna Keen. She is my colleague and really close friend and I want to recognise her contribution — I really couldn’t do it without her.”
Dillon plans to use the prize money to improve her skills and knowledge, including around managing family violence issues, to provide a holistic healthcare experience for the women who visit Bega Garnbirringu Health Service.
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