Ramsay Health Care strongly represented in WA nursing awards


A number of staff belonging to member hospitals of the Australian Private Hospitals Association have been named as finalists in the 2016 WA Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards.

The 34 finalists were announced on Monday and among them were six Ramsay Health Care staff.

Peel Health Campus’ Jemma Freegard and Donna Cook were named in the Excellence in Leadership and Excellence in Primary, Public and Community Care categories respectively.

Joondalup Health Campus was also strongly represented, with four staff progressing to this year’s finals.

Sarah Oplaat was nominated for Excellence in Enrolled Nursing, Jay Ewers for Graduate of the Year, Audrey Mackay for Excellence in Midwifery, while Angie Monk joined Peel’s Ms Freegard as a finalist in the Excellence in Leadership category.

Peel Health Campus breast care nurse Donna Cook has been nominated for Excellence in Primary, Public and Community Care.

Peel Health Campus breast care nurse Donna Cook has been nominated for Excellence in Primary, Public and Community Care.

WA Health Minister Kim Hames said the finalists were selected from an impressive field of nominees.

“Our finalists come from diverse work and practice environments,” Mr Hames said.

“They have all demonstrated excellence in their field and are obviously making a real difference to the health of West Australians.

“Awards such as these provide the wider community with an opportunity to recognise and reward our nurses and midwives who are at the forefront of ensuring compassionate, safe and effective care.”

The 2016 finalists work in public, private and non-government workplaces across Western Australia.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Perth on 7 May.

Get to know the finalists below.

Jemma Freegard (Excellence in Leadership) - Clinical Midwifery Manager, Peel Health Campus

What her nominator said:

Jemma’s very visible commitment to improving care makes staff want to be engaged and committed to her vision for better services for all women.

Jemma Freegard.

Jemma Freegard

Jemma’s passion to improve care for women goes beyond the hospital walls. She always has a staff team building activity or fundraiser on the go. Following the Nepal disaster this year, Jemma commenced a series of events to raise funds for women and babies in Nepal.

Although a novice lead, Jemma has quickly emerged as one of the most trusted and respected Clinical Nurse Managers in the hospital, influencing patient outcomes with her drive to continually improve and her ability to engage a workforce. In a short period of time, Jemma has engaged her team, engaged the partner GP Obstetricians, and engaged the middle management team using her authentic leadership style.

We now have a team that trusts each other with a dual commitment to provide excellent patient care within a strong clinical governance framework, supported by a very strong education calendar and an exceptional young leader.

What Jemma said:

I am a highly passionate and determined midwife who seeks clinical excellence. I have gained my vast experience in midwifery by working in tertiary, community and out of metro settings.

My aim is to ensure that the patient is centre to the experience. I believe I am an excellent role model to my peers. I am constantly thinking of others and how I can give back.

Donna Cook (Excellence in Primary, Public and Community Care) - McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Peel Health Campus

What her nominator said:

Donna has developed many good working relationships with staff in and outside the campus and has contributed significantly to her role at the McGrath Breast Care Nursing Service.

Donna Cook.

Donna Cook.

Donna has been described as an extraordinary clinician, who is compassionate, a sound critical thinker, a collaborator and displays high levels of ethical standards.

Donna has enthusiasm for her role and despite the demands, she delivers personalised care to all patients. Donna is a unique and important role model for all health professionals as a reminder of patient advocacy.

Donna has established WA state-wide monthly meetings for WA McGrath Breast Care Nurses via teleconference so they can network, collaborate and share information.

What Donna said:

Since 2004, I have dedicated my nursing career to supporting and improving outcomes for patients and their families experiencing early and advanced breast cancer in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas of WA.

I have set up two regional breast cancer services from inception; my belief that patients should have optimal care close to home has motivated me to forge through many challenges.

I am a strong advocate of education and information which in turn empowers my patients to become part of their treatment team, enabling them to find their voice regarding decisions impacting on their lives.

My belief is that the process of healing begins from the moment I meet and engage with my patients.

Sarah Oplaat (Excellence in Enrolled Nursing) - Advanced Skill Enrolled Nurse, Joondalup Health Campus

What her nominator said:

Sarah is an Advanced Skill Enrolled Nurse on the Medical Assessment Unit at Joondalup Health Campus.

She is a committed preceptor for graduates, undergraduates and new employees. Her passion makes her an influential role mode. She undertakes her responsibilities with dedication, commitment and pride.

Sarah Oplaat.

Sarah Oplaat.

Sarah works closely with patients, carers and relatives to deliver patient-centred care that is respectful of, and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values. She ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions.

Sarah is regularly commended by her peers for her clinical maturity when delivering holistic patient care, not only to her patients but to their extended family members as well.

Sarah has received numerous nominations from undergraduate nursing students, new employees and graduate nurses for the hospital’s Preceptor of the Year award.

What Sarah said:

I am a mother of five adult children. The children were raised by myself as a single parent.

My desire to serve humanity was always apparent to me from a very young age. I knew my priority was to raise the children first. I had an overwhelming desire to serve humanity throughout this period of time as well.

I commenced a nine month course as a nursing assistant and commenced my career dreams. I was nominated for a scholarship in enrolled nursing by the Director of Nursing where I worked at the time.

I knew at this point my dreams to become a nurse were within sight. I commenced my career in enrolled nursing within the older adult residential setting where I was in charge of a dementia ward of 21 residents.

I adored this environment for a period of two years. My desire to further achieve led me to obtain a position at Joondalup Health Campus and I have since gone on to obtain my Advanced Skill certificate.

I now also work on the YWAM medical ship as a volunteer and have provided primary health care into remote areas of Papua New Guinea.

Angie Monk (Excellence in Leadership) - Clinical Nurse Consultant, Joondalup Health Campus

What her nominator said:

Angie is employed as the Patient Blood Management Clinical Nurse Consultant at the Joondalup Health Campus in the Clinical Governance Unit and provides a consultancy service to Glengarry Private Hospital and Attadale Private Hospital.

Angie Monk.

Angie Monk.

Angie’s leadership style has transformed blood management, benefiting consumers, colleagues and the wider community. She has raised the profile of nursing among the hospital’s anaesthetists and surgeons with her work in Patient Blood Management.

The Blood Transfusion Plan developed by Angie has been recognised by different surveyors as one of the best in the country and is now recommended for use in all Ramsay Health Care Hospitals. She has gone to great lengths to ensure that there are robust governance and systems for blood and blood product prescribing within WA Ramsay hospitals.

She has produced best practice documents to ensure the clinical workforce accurately records a patient’s blood and blood product needs.

Angie collaborates and partners with numerous departments and external organisations. She was instrumental in introducing a Massive Transfusion Protocol. She has coordinated, engaged and partnered Ramsay Health with staff and students of ECU, Western Diagnostics, Fiona Stanley Hospital and Osborne Park Hospital for a simulated massive transfusion drill.

One of the many outcomes was improved communication between the clinical area and the blood bank. The Massive Transfusion Protocol record is a first globally and provides a contemporaneous record of events including tracking blood products, and provides best practice guidelines for massive transfusion and coagulopathy management that has improved patient outcomes.

Angie’s tireless passion is a large motivator in gaining acceptance of evidence based practice and her willingness to work with all stakeholders has promoted trust and commitment. Her work has demonstrated a decrease in the wastage of precious blood products, which is now well below the national benchmark.

What Angie said:

I started nurse training in London 40 years ago, and have had a varied nursing career in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia.

The wealth of knowledge and skills I obtained from working in specialty areas such as ICU, anaesthetics and Midwifery has been invaluable in providing leadership and mentorship to medical and nursing staff for the past 18 years.

I have been an innovator throughout my career and have always sought out opportunities to improve patient care. The most recent example of this was the establishment of the Patient Blood Management Program at Joondalup Health Campus.

I have never regretted my career choice and have met wonderful people from all walks of life. I have received many accolades in my career but I am most honoured to receive this nomination by my peers.

Jay Ewers (Graduate of the Year) - Registered Nurse, Joondalup Health Campus

What his nominator said:

Jay is a newly graduated registered nurse in the operating theatres at Joondalup Health Campus, where he has worked as an enrolled nurse for nine years prior to obtaining his RN registration.

Jay is dynamic, committed and works tirelessly to promote patient quality care. He is attentive and considerate of the care we provide our surgical patients.

Jay Ewers.

Jay Ewers.

Jay has high standards and maintains those standards within his team by being a vocal patient advocate and role model. Jay precepts nursing and anaesthetic technician students during their placements and exudes pride in his profession.

Jay has excellent clinical skills and knowledge which he shares with his multidisciplinary team. He is professional who leads by example and offers encouragement and fabulous learning opportunities to our future professionals.

Jay has an innate desire to provide compassionate, empathetic and quality care to patients who often feel vulnerable in the theatre environment. He sets a high standard of practice and encourages his colleagues to do the same.

Jay has a friendly open nature, puts patients at ease with gentle humour and is very compassionate towards their needs. He is excellent at dealing with paediatric patients and their nervous parents.

Jay is able to provide a distraction to children whilst informing the parents about what is happening. He really does treat every patient as if they were our only patient.

What Jay said:

I am a strong believer that if you don’t like your job, it’s time to find something to do that you love and I LOVE MY JOB.

I have worked in five star hotels and small restaurants across Australia, but anaesthetic nursing by far is a better fit for myself and my family. Nursing allows me to dedicate time to both my family and my work responsibilities and I gain satisfaction from both.

I have also had the privilege of working as an acting Clinical Nurse in Anaesthetics for the past six months (to cover maternity leave) and this was after finishing a graduate program. This has been both challenging and motivating, pushing me out of my comfort zone and gaining perspective about the needs of the department as a whole.

I aim to continue developing my leadership skills and aspire to act as a role model and mentor for new staff, and advance my career in this specialised field of nursing.

Audrey Mackay (Excellence in Midwifery) - Graduate Midwife Coordinator, Joondalup Health Campus

What her nominator said:

Audrey is the Graduate Midwife Coordinator at Joondalup Health Campus, a position she has held since 2013.

Audrey Mackay.

Audrey Mackay.

She is responsible for enhancing ongoing learning opportunities for the graduates as they rotate through their different areas.

Testament to how powerful a role model she has become, Audrey has inspired an impressively high retention rate of graduates at Joondalup Health Campus with 100 per cent applying for and obtaining positions over the past two years.

Audrey established the Joondalup Health Campus Graduate Midwifery Program and has been responsible for setting up and running a very comprehensive course. Audrey also coordinates monthly reflective meetings with the graduate midwives to foster insight into their own performance and to further develop their learning.

Despite this workload, she continues to work as a midwife on the ward to maintain her own professional standards and currency.

Audrey ensures that the information she provides to the Graduate Midwives is evidence-based and feedback from her colleagues highlights her excellent reputation among staff. She has fantastic professional relationships with all members of multidisciplinary team and has created partnerships with external stakeholders

In her own time, Audrey is undertaking her Masters of Midwifery to increase her knowledge, research and educational capabilities. She also lectures at Edith Cowan University in the Undergraduate Midwifery course.

What Audrey said:

I qualified as a midwife in 1990 and some 25 years later have never lost my passion for the profession.

I originally trained and worked in Inverness, Scotland then after six years I became a community midwife. During this time, I set up a service for vulnerable families, concentrating on drug, alcohol, mental health and teenage pregnancy issues.

I continued in this role until 2007 when I moved to Australia with my husband and two children and joined Joondalup Health Campus (JHC). I am now a senior clinical midwife and since 2013 have been the graduate midwifery program coordinator.

I have developed a structured graduate program for junior midwives, which encourages ongoing learning in a supportive environment. This program has grown and now has two intakes per year.

As a result of the program, JHC has not only increased the number of graduates but also retained them for future employment.

I also work for Edith Cowan University regularly assisting with clinical tuition. I am trained in aquanatal, baby massage and Swedish massage and I am currently studying at Edith Cowan.


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