A nurse from the Northern Territory has taken out one of the top gongs at the HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards for her work in delivering on-country dialysis services to Aboriginal people experiencing kidney disease.
Sarah Brown, chief executive of the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (Western Desert Dialysis), took out the Nurse or Midwife of the Year category for her work with the service, which provides culturally appropriate care to people from traditional Aboriginal communities. Brown delivers her services in part through Purple Truck Dialysis.
“The services we provide mean that people can live in their remote communities and receive dialysis treatment on-country,” Brown said. “They live longer, have a better quality of life and an opportunity to pass on their heritage and cultural knowledge to their children and grandchildren.”
Debby Blakey, chief executive of HESTA, said each award winner stood out from an exceptional group of finalists for their outstanding leadership and innovation in implementing new services and practices that provide enhanced healthcare outcomes and the highest standard of care to patients across Australia.
HESTA announced the winners at an awards dinner held in Brisbane. Each will share in a $30,000 prize pool from awards sponsor and bank ME to further education or team development.
This year, HESTA handed the title of Outstanding Graduate to Rebecca Rich from Perth Clinic, who is passionate about breaking down the stigma mental health patients often face.
Rich was acknowledged for her commitment to achieving patient-centred care in mental health nursing and her focus on formal and informal education to improve her skills.
Some of Rich’s studies included online training with Children of Parents with Mental Illness, the Mandatory Reporting Program with the Department of Child Protection and a short course in borderline personality disorder.
Rich said she will use the prize money to visit hospitals around Australia to research how others are treating mental health and personality disorders. “I plan to visit hospitals that treat personality disorders, find out how they’ve been successful and bring this back to the Perth Clinic to help us improve,” she said.
Meanwhile, the team behind the pre-admission Midwife Appointment Program at Mater Hospital will use its share of the prize money to further and improve the services it offers to expectant mothers and to fund research, after taking out the HESTA Awards Team Excellence category.
The program provides women with a free 45-minute appointment with a specially trained midwife, providing the opportunity to discuss the expectations and concerns women may have in their pregnancy, during birth and early parenting.
It focuses on addressing a woman’s physical as well as emotional wellbeing and includes screening for depression and anxiety, domestic violence screening and assistance with concerns or social stresses in the expectant mother’s life.
Antenatal midwife co-ordinator Sarah Tooke said the program makes patients feel more supported. “They feel listened to and are asked questions that they weren’t previously asked,” Tooke said. “This helps with screening and supporting their emotional wellbeing, ensuring risk factors can be picked up early.”
Tooke said the prize money will be used to provide ongoing training for staff and conduct formal research to self-evaluate. The team would also like to fund a translator to help with linguistically diverse patients.Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]