Group photo
 May 12, 2021

Celebrating International Nurses Day!

Today is International Nurses Day, celebrated each year the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday to mark the contributions nurses make to society.

To celebrate International Nurses Day, we recognised seven inspiring nurses for their compassion, professionalism, and round-the-clock commitment to caring for our patients. 

Here are there stories: 
 Nick Johnson

Katy-Jane Britten is the Nurse Unit Manager of our 8 North Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgery Ward.

She was recognised for consistently displaying integrity, commitment to excellence, accountability, passion for nursing, and strategic focus.

Last year, Katy-Jane's ward needed to transitioned into a suspected COVID-19 and confirmed COVID-19 ward.  

Through her ability to communicate clearly and empathetically, she was able to keep her team well informed and involved in all changes.  

She also supported the wellbeing of her team during this high-anxiety period.

Katy-Jane says she’s both surprised and humbled to receive this award.

“I’m so thankful for this recognition. I feel extra proud to be a nurse today,” says Katy-Jane.

Francis McNamara

Dr Emma Cohen has posthumously been recognised for excellence in research.

She was Nurse Unit Manager of 7 South Haematology, Bone Marrow Transplant, Endocrinology and Rheumatology Ward.

Emma was nominated for her commitment to patient improvement through education, research and knowledge sharing.

Each year Emma would contribute to the organisation-wide course Advanced Research Methods to share her experience and expertise in the field of mixed methods research design; teaching others the value of qualitative data when coupled with quantitative data to improve patient care.

Andy Dodson works as an Emergency Care Coordinator.

He was recognised for demonstrating for his work in transitioning the Emergency Department Care Coordination team notes from paper to electronic. 

Andy's excellent project planning, consultation and staff education has resulted in improved documentation and visibility of patient discharge planning. 

Andy says that International Nurses Day is an opportunity to take stock of the amazing work that nurses do in such a diverse range of healthcare and community settings.

“I salute my colleagues in the Emergency Department as we have confronted the fears and challenges of a global pandemic together.

“I feel very humbled for the recognition of a role that I not only love but see the real difference that it makes to our patients lives,” Andy says.

Simon Heppleston is an Associate Nurse Unit Manager of Anaesthesia Nursing.

He has been recognised for demonstrating Excellence in Professional Leadership, and for leading the Anaesthesia Department's response to COVID-19. 

Simon says that International Nurse's Day is a day to recognise a profession which gives a lot more than it receives.

“Nurses care and support our communities during their most vulnerable times, across many facets of life, often for little or no recognition. This day is a small gesture to help correct that balance,” says Simon.

“I believe I only did what had to be done to ensure the health and safety of my team, as well as provide timely expert care for our community in a time of crisis. Having the support of such an incredible team made the job so much easier, I can't stress enough just how great they were."
 Simon Heppleston

Nicholas Johnson works in the Palliative Care Unit at the ONJ Centre.

He has been recognised for his work caring for an Aboriginal elder during the end of her life.

“With no expectation of reward or even acknowledgement for himself, I watched as Nick displayed an authenticity and level of care that helped a family to feel safe. He provided them with the respect and dignity to openly grieve and mourn during the most heartbreaking moments of their lives.

“Moments this family will now cherish forever. Nick's professionalism and compassion cannot be understated, his respect and love shown towards those around him cannot be underestimated.

“Our Palliative Care Unit is filled with exceptional humans but, if there is one person that embodies everything it should mean to be a health care professional, I look no further than Nick. He is an example of what amazing things can be achieved with grace, patience and a smile. A future leader I already look up to," says the staff member who nominated him.

Nicholas says he’s incredibly honoured to be receiving this award.

“I feel like I am being recognised for the work in which I dedicate my heart and soul to. This is also a testament to the nurses, allied health and other staff members that work on the palliative care unit, as there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’,” says Nicholas.
 Kate Schimmelbusch

Francis McNamara works in the Child and Adolescent Inpatient Unit.

Francis was recognised for demonstrating excellence in professional leadership and for his calm demeanour.

Francis has gone above and beyond over the last 12 months, staying back late from his shift and coming in on weekends to support care delivery for consumers, all while prioritising the safety of our staff and nursing workforce.

Francis says he’s both shocked and surprised to receive this award.

“I am very grateful that someone has made time in their busy schedule to submit a nomination and I accept on behalf of the fantastic nurses that I work with each day,” says Francis. 

Katy-Jane Britten

Kate Schimmelbusch is a Clinical Support Nurse and Educator, as well as a Clinical Nurse Consultant with the Acute Pain Service.

Kate has been recognised for demonstrating excellence in education.

When COVID was at its peak, Kate agreed to work on one of Austin Health's COVID-19 wards.

When Kate identifies gaps in knowledge, she benchmarks and researches with other organisations to ensure that the training and education she is giving is up to date and best practice.

Throughout the pandemic, Kate has continued to support her colleagues through education.  By doing so, she's also ensured continued safety for staff and patients, as well as high quality care. 

Kate feels humbled to receive this award.

“Austin Health staff are committed to bringing their best for their patients, and I am proud to be a part of this environment,” says Kate.