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Order of Australia inductee leads nurses in Australia Day honours

An Australian clinical nurse who has been deployed as a volunteer 50 times across nine countries has been recognised through an Order of Australia award in this year’s honours.

Kym Stuart was recognised for her service to nursing through a range of voluntary roles throughout the developing world, particularly in Asia and the Pacific region.

Stuart has been a regular volunteer with Open Heart International since 1992, working as a scrub nurse or surgeon’s assistant in areas of need several times a year.

“We go to developing countries and we help them provide surgery for children who would otherwise probably die in those environments and/or we help them set up their own service so they can at least do some basic cardiac procedures in their own country,” she said.

Recently, Stuart has been concentrating on the Pacific and south-east Asia. “In those services, we are now helping them become independent and do their own surgeries," she said. "They've been training hard over the last few years to be able to [we hope] do the more basic pediatric cardiac surgery independently.”

Stuart was among several nurses honoured on Australia Day, including Kathleen Bright, who was recognised for service to women and to nursing, and professor Mari Botti, for service to nursing, pain management research and medical education, as an academic and author.

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