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Nikki Johnston. Photo: supplied

Palliative care nurse blazing a trail to awards

The inaugural Health Minister’s award for nursing trailblazers has been awarded to a Canberra nurse for her work in improving the delivery of palliative care to Australians living in residential aged care.

Nikki Johnston, a palliative care nurse practitioner based in Canberra at Calvary Health Care’s Clare Holland House, took out the award on April 9 for her ‘INSPIRED’ project which aims to integrate specialist palliative care into residential aged care, providing better pain management and helping people die in the place of their choosing.

The award is the first of its kind in Australia and acknowledges the vital role nurses play in transforming our country’s health and aged care system.

“This award is about recognising nurses who are leading the way, who are able to influence policy and models of care that can be implemented nationally. Nurses are patient advocates who are instrumental to the promotion, prevention and treatment of health care to patients and communities,” Australian College of Nursing chief executive Kylie Ward said.

“Congratulations to Nikki on being selected as this year’s Nursing Trailblazer for her work in improving the delivery of palliative care to Australians living in residential aged care.”

In a conversation with Aged Care Insite, Johnston – who also recently picked up a Medal of the Order of Australia – praised her colleagues at every opportunity, saying that nurses in the sector are “so hard working and undervalued”.

“It is such a pleasure working here with a lot people without whom the work wouldn’t be possible.”

Aged Care Insite spoke with Johnston about her work and her award-winning streak.

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