Western Sydney director receives prestigious award for contributions to radiation therapy

Jillian “Jill” Harris, district director of radiation therapy at Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), has been awarded the Nicholas Outterside Award from the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy for her outstanding service and selfless giving of time.

Jill was nominated by fellow colleagues following her multiple contributions to research, training and general radiation therapy – once again putting the commitment and dedication of western Sydney’s health heroes on display.

Upon receiving the prestigious award, Jill said she was overwhelmed with emotion because she wasn’t even aware she had been nominated.

I work because I love what I do, and I am passionate about patient outcomes,” Jill said.

“It came as a complete surprise to me! I love my job and have never worked for the sole purpose of recognition.

“This award is not a reflection of me, but the whole team here in western Sydney. Without them, I would not be where I am today.”

Throughout her extensive career, Jill has been involved in many career development projects, including introducing specialist radiation therapists in an Australian-first.

Specialist radiation therapy groups include head and neck cancer, breast cancer, paediatric, and many more.

“This was a real career highlight for me as it was the first of its kind in Australia,” Jill said.

“It gives people something to strive for other than a management position. It will allow those who don’t want to undertake that leadership role a chance to continue their career development.”

Jill has been working for WSLHD since 1988 and said throughout her time here, the radiation therapy department’s focus has never changed.

“Patients remain at the forefront of everything we do,” Jill said.

“Although there is a strong focus on technical excellence, we always have equal focus on the quality of care.

“We see patients as people and ensure we provide holistic treatment to everyone who walks through the doors.”

Although no longer involved in day-to-day direct patient care, Jill makes sure her staff continue to put patients at the forefront of their work.

“Radiation therapy is an exciting profession that enables you to really make a difference in someone’s life,” Jill said.

“They are coming to you in their most vulnerable state and for you to be able to build that relationship and level of trust with them can be a game-changer.

“I’m excited to be able to teach and lead the next generation of radiation therapists. We all might be patients one day and if I am I wanted to be treated by the best!”

Congratulations Jill!