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Australia’s top nurses honoured

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 19-11-2013

HESTA Australian Nursing Awards

A woman who swapped her bookshop business to retrain as a nurse and has since dedicated her career to refugee health is one of five Nurse of the Year finalists in the HESTA Australian Nursing Awards.

Annette Carr qualified as a nurse 10 years ago after six-years of part-time study and now works with up to 400 detainees across four main cultural groups at the Inverbrackie Alternative Place of Detention.

“As a mature age student going into nursing, it was always my intention to work in refugee health and support disadvantaged people,” she said.

“Inverbrackie has been a wonderful opportunity for me. It’s a privilege to nurse there and to try to make people feel safe and healthy again, after what are often quite horrific experiences of oppression and civil war.”

Other Nurse

of the Year finalists include Jenny Anderson from Queensland’s Rockhampton Hospital for her management of workforce shortages and escalating demand for renal care, Karen Barrett-McNeill for transformational management and care for cancer patients at Radiation Oncology Queensland, Kerryn Brakels for her outstanding work as a visiting nurse in a small rural community at Victoria’s Mansfield District Hospital, and David Copley for his culturally sensitive work developing Quitline services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at Cancer Council SA and Quit SA.

There are also five finalists in the Innovation in Nursing category, including Flinders University’s Dr Amanda Muller, Didy Button and Gregory Matthews who developed a game designed to boost student nurses’ knowledge of medication names.

The online game, Medicina, is designed to avoid potentially life-threatening drug mix-ups.

Other finalists in the category include Wendy Abigail, also from Flinders University, for her work in fertility education with women aged over 30, Kylie Elder from Royal District Nursing Service for her work in the Connected Wound Care project, Sophie Jones of Victoria’s Royal Children’s Hospital for her work evaluating the impact of home self-testing of blood for warfarin-dependent children and Nicholas Ralph of CQUniversity for his work with the Mobile Clinical Learning Unit.

Five Graduate Nurse of the Year finalists include WA midwife Brooke Jones who spent seven months working in Sierra Leone, former Eastern Health nurse Jason Mills, who left behind construction work for a career in nursing, Mercy Hospital for Women nurse Zoe Lock, Bathurst Base Hospital’s Brenden Stapleton, and Shani Vansant from the Neurosurgical Unit at Royal Hobart Hospital.

Winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Melbourne on May 10. The Nurse of the Year and Graduate Nurse of the Year will each receive $5000 and a $5000 education grant while the Innovation in Nursing winner will receive a $10,000 project development grant.

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