2017 International Nurses & Midwives Day Awards

WSLHD overall winner Rebecca Sherriff


Research winners. WSLHD executive director of nursing and midwifery Joanne Edwards with Suzanne Coller, Robyn Gasparotto, Julie Stevenson, Leah Bettini and Marlene Payk, with Prof Stephen Leeder.

Western Sydney Local Health District paid homage to its dedicated nursing staff today, recognising the contributions of its hard-working hospital and community health nurses and midwives.

At a special award ceremony, held ahead of International Nurses Day on Friday (May 12) and to mark International Midwives Day (May 5), nurses and midwives from across the district were recognised for their efforts in providing first-class patient care.

Award winners included registered nurses, midwives, enrolled nurses and assistants in nursing from Auburn, Blacktown, Mount Druitt, Cumberland and Westmead hospitals, along with nursing staff working in Community & Integrated Health, Drug and Mental Health.

WSLHD executive director of nursing and midwifery Joanne Edwards congratulated the award winners and the district’s nursing staff, noting many of them had demonstrated a true passion for their job.

“Our district is lucky to have so many nurses and midwives who are highly dedicated to their patients,” she said.

“These staff have displayed a willingness to go the extra mile – they are committed to doing everything they can to provide the best possible care.”

Western Sydney Local Health District

Rebecca Sherriff – nursing unit manager, Yaralla Unit, Cumberland Hospital

Jacqui Cross, WSLHD winner Rebecca Sherriff and WSLHD executive director of nursing & midwifery Joanne Edwards.

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Auburn Hospital


WSLHD executive director nursing & midwifery Joanne Edwards with nurses Robyn Gasparotto, Ana Donnellan and Tendayi Makamba, and Auburn Hospital director of nursing Kate Murphy

Nurse of the Year: Tendayi Makamba – clinical nurse specialist, Close Observation Unit

Tendayi began her nursing training in Zimbabwe, and qualified as a registered nurse in 1997.  She obtained her Diploma of Intensive Care and Coronary Care, and was promoted to nursing unit manager.

After migrating to Australia in 2004 and working in various critical care settings, Tendayi gained her permanent Australian residency and joined the team at Auburn Hospital in the Close Observation Unit.

Tendayi is well-known across Auburn Hospital as a great team leader and professional role model. Her clinical skills and expertise, combined with her great teaching abilities and approachable manner, have made her a highly respected and valued team member.

Her commitment to patient safety, quality care and leadership has been clearly demonstrated in her roles in Advanced Life support training, manual handling training, as a member of the Auburn Rapid Response Committee and through relieving senior positions like nursing unit manager, nurse manager (patient flow) and after-hours nurse manager.

Midwife of the Year: Ana Donnellan – registered midwife, newborn care unit

Ana started her nursing career as a registered nurse, working in several areas including neurology, oncology, palliative care and intensive care. Ana then moved to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, working in the paediatric ICU and operating suite.

In 2001, she joined the team at Auburn Hospital, working in the operating suite, day surgery and pre-admission clinic.

Midwifery was always on her “bucket list” of courses to do, and after completing her midwifery studies in 2011, she has worked across all areas of midwifery care.

Ana is a very humble “quiet achiever” who, although never actively seeks the limelight, is a shining star in the team. She is highly regarded and respected by her peers, colleagues and patients.

As evident from her career, Ana is experienced and highly adaptive, always willing to embrace change, and work in different areas to ensure safe, quality care for our women and babies. Ana is considered an exemplary role model by her managers and peers.

Research Award: Robyn Gasparotto – clinical midwifery consultant

Robyn found her pathway to midwifery 17 years ago, completing a Graduate Diploma of Midwifery, following the successful completion of her Bachelor of Nursing. In 2016, she completed her Masters of Primary Maternity Care.

Robyn’s passion for maternity services has led to her role as clinical midwife consultant at Auburn Hospital. She is a positive role-model and mentor for others, a strong advocate and leader in the initiation of midwifery research, and the chairperson for the Multidisciplinary Policy and Procedure Committee.

Robyn currently has two key research projects in progress.

In 2016, Robyn won first place for her research poster at the International Normal Birth Conference.  She was also a successful recipient of the nursing and midwifery office strategy funding.

Robyn is a passionate and committed midwife, whose leadership and drive in the organisation is highly respected and valued.

Blacktown & Mount Druitt hospitals

WSLHD executive director of nursing & midwifery Joanne Edwards with nurses Sushma Prasad and Paula Faustino, and Blacktown & Mount Druitt hospitals director of nursing David Simmonds

Nurse of the Year: Arlyn Yu – nursing unit manager, respiratory ward

Arlyn has been nursing for nearly 13 years, completing her Graduate Certificate in Cancer Nursing, followed by her Masters in Clinical Leadership.

Arlyn has been very successful in her role as nursing unit manager, (C73) creating a positive, patient-focused, learning environment.

Arlyn has been described by her staff as understanding, empathetic, supportive and “the glue” that holds the ward together. Under Arlyn’s leadership, the staff are committed and patient-focused, and work together as a team to uphold the core values of the organisation.

Midwife of the Year: Paula Faustino – midwife, Women’s & Children’s Health

Paula has worked in Women’s and Children’s Health since commencing her midwifery training in July 2011. After an initial rotation through the maternity areas, Paula chose to become a permanent midwife, working on the ward and with the Midwifery at Home Service.

Paula has continued to develop her clinical and leadership skills, supporting team members and mentoring junior staff.  She is compassionate and focused on patient-centred care.

Paula works in collaboration with all staff, patients and families and is an excellent leader, mentor and team member.

Research Award: Suzanne Coller – clinical nurse consultant, palliative care

Suzanne began her nursing career in her mid-30s after a career change.

She completed her Masters of Clinical Nursing (Palliative Care) and was successful in gaining a clinical nurse consultant position at Mount Druitt Hospital.

Suzanne is passionate, proactive, patient-focused and an excellent role-model, often taking opportunities to be involved in research across Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals to improve patient care.

Integrated & Community Health

WSLHD executive director of nursing & midwifery Joanne Edwards with nurses Sheryl Baddock, Linda Bologna and Elizabeth Mackintosh.

Nurse of the Year: Sheryl Baddock – community nurse, Hills Community Health Centre

Sheryl is warm, friendly and has excellent interpersonal skills.

She has been instrumental in ensuring a robust multidisciplinary approach to client care, demonstrating insight, patience, encouragement and consistency in her approach to patient care.

As a clinical supervisor, Sheryl works with her colleagues to enable the development of professional skills and competence.

Sheryl was then recognised with the Elizabeth Johnson Scholarship for her dedication and work in the area of wound care and attended the Wounds Australia Conference in Melbourne.

Nurse of the Year: Linda Bologna – palliative care clinical nurse specialist, Mount Druitt Community Health Centre

Linda is a clinical nurse specialist with extensive knowledge and skills in palliative care nursing.

She is always willing to share and develop skills in other community nurses and is a strong advocate for clients and their families.

Linda is calm, compassionate and well-respected by her colleagues – she works collaboratively with community nurses, medical and Allied health staff, while advocating for patients and respecting their wishes.

Linda is a quiet achiever, going about her work in an ethical and professional manner at all times and is a calm influence in all situations.

Research Award: Julie Stevenson – clinical nurse consultant, Child & Family Health

Julie is a researcher with an eye for detail.

In partnership with a colleague from Allied Health, Julie joined ranks with Notre Dame University to follow-up on anecdotal evidence showing some Chinese parents relinquish their 0-5-year-old children to relatives in China.

This study is well underway and is being conducted from both the parent’s and child perspectives.

Mental Health Services

WSLHD executive director of nursing & midwifery Joanne Edwards with nurses Megan Buxton & Samantha Pozo and director of nursing (mental health) Charles MacMillan

Nurse of the Year: Megan Buxton – clinical nurse consultant, Recovery Services

Megan has contributed significantly to enhancing the quality of life for longer term mental health consumers.

Over the years, she has established, in collaboration with consumers and carers, invaluable programs, which are designed to promote self-esteem and recovery-based care.

Nurse of the Year: Samantha Pozo – acting nursing unit manager, Medical Unit

Samantha is currently acting as nursing unit manager in a complex medical/mental health unit.

Samantha has demonstrated a commitment to patient care and quality over a number of years.

She is actively involved in the implementation of processes aimed at providing positive, patient-focused care, leading the implementation of the eMR and being the “champion” of pressure point prevalence in mental health.

Research Award: Leah Bettini – clinical nurse specialist, carrying out functions of ECT co-ordinator

Leah recently commenced in a new role as a clinical nurse specialist (grade 2), carrying out the functions of ECT co-ordinator.

She has brought significant change to the practice and administration of ECT within mental health.

She has proven to be patient and carer-focused, developing resources to reduce anxieties with ECT.

She is also an active member of a research team, looking at quality and safety and the use of ECT in schizophrenia.

Westmead Hospital

WSLHD executive director of nursing & midwifery Joanne Edwards with nurses Matthew Ham and Amy Lazzaro, and Westmead Hospital director of nursing Kate Hackett

Nurse of the Year: Matthew Han – nurse educator

Matthew’s training is utilised at a district level, promoting advanced clinical skill sets for nursing.

His work with nursing, medical and Allied Health for ALS training and simulation has been instrumental.

Mathew is well-respected among his peers and takes an active role in not only providing education, but improving clinical practice.

Mat treats those he works with – whether patients, carers or staff – with the utmost respect, and recognises the individuality of people, working collaboratively to meet team goals and patient-centred care.

Nurse of the Year: Amy Lazzaro – transitional nurse practitioner, B4b/c GREAT program

Amy is the clinical lead of the Geriatric Medicine outreach service in 45 residential aged care facilities across the district.

Amy has worked collaboratively with these facilities and local GPs, using her outstanding interpersonal skills to improve patient-centred care, and develop links to specialty outpatient clinics to ensure patients have timely access to specialist care without the need for hospital admission.

Amy has contributed greatly towards enhancing the quality of patient care delivered to older people by actively incorporating Advance Medical Planning (AMP) & End of Life discussions with families while providing consultation in the aged care facilities.

Amy is an extraordinary role-model for nursing and a passionate patient advocate.

Research Award: Marlene Payk – diabetes nurse, Diabetes & Endocrinology Centre

Marlene has worked as a diabetes educator for the past 20 years before transitioning to a diabetes nurse practitioner in 2011.

Her specialty is insulin pumps and she provides one of the largest pump initiation services nationally.

Marlene has presented at numerous conferences, sharing her research outcomes with colleagues to improve patient care.

She is a professional Doctorate candidate at the University of Canberra and is the co-author on many publications.

Marlene is dedicated to education and improving outcomes for patients, working closely with the Islet Cell Transplant Service at Westmead Hospital. She has also been involved with the Australian Diabetes Educators Association as NSW ADEA Chair.


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