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Midwife’s labour of love positively inspirational

Ian Bushnell 15 May 2019

People-centred health care: The recipients at the Nursing and Midwifery Award Ceremony. Sally McRae is second from left. Photo: Supplied.

A melanoma and skin cancer specialist nurse and a midwife instrumental in the introduction of two parent programs have taken the top individual honours at the recent Nursing and Midwifery Excellence awards.

Nurse of the Year is Christine Archer from Canberra Health Services, while Midwife of the Year is Sally McRae, from Calvary Public Hospital Bruce.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Meegan Fitzharris announced the winners at an event late last week.

She said Ms Archer’s dedication to the nursing profession and melanoma research extended over 20 years, 17 of which have been dedicated to cancer nursing.

“Sally has been instrumental in the introduction of two parent programs that have a focus on positive parenting, one of which is the Bringing Baby Home workshop,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“Sally’s commitment to improving a woman’s childbirth journey is evident through the education programs she conducts to enhance knowledge and resilience in midwives.”

Team of the Year is the Childbirth Education Research Team at Canberra Health Services, winning for their excellence in the Quality Improvement Activity or Research Practice.

The team led a re-design of the Childbirth Education Program at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, and conducted an evidence-based program to educate staff and improve outcomes for the women and newborns in their care.

Other award winners were:

  • Excellence in Clinical Practice – Juliane Samara, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce
  • Excellence in Educational Practice – Leanne Ehrlich, Canberra Health Services
  • Excellence in Leadership Practice – Kath Wakefield, Canberra Health Services
  • Excellence in Management Practice – Lyn O’Connell, Canberra Health Services
  • Excellence in Quality Improvement or Research Practice – Maureen O’Brien, Canberra Health Services

Ms Fitzharris praised the work nurses and midwives did and the great impact they made in the lives of people in the community.

“Congratulations to our winners this year. We really do have the most amazing nurses and midwives working in our public health system,” she said.

“Nurses, midwives and our allied health professionals predominantly engage with the public in clinical settings – in our hospitals, walk-in centres and our maternity and child health clinics. They are often a calming presence in highly stressful situations and they consistently deliver high quality, people-centred health care.”

The Minister also highlighted the ACT Government’s commitment to improving the workplace health and safety of nurses and midwives, following the release of the Towards a Safer Culture – First Step Strategy.

“While we are driving a people-centred health care system, we are also urging the public to be people-minded when engaging with our nurses and midwives. We do urge the public to look after and respect our nursing and midwifery staff as they do their jobs looking after patients and families every day,” she said.


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