NSW Excellence in Nursing Award finalists

Four nurses from Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) have been announced as finalists in this year’s NSW Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards, which recognise outstanding contribution to the nursing profession.

Beckie Petulla has been nominated for the Nurse of the Year Award and Hayley Fisher, Danielle Gardner and Lenore Maitland, all nurses at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH), are finalists in the Healing Heart Award category.

Sally Whalen, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Education, said SCHN was fortunate to have dedicated, compassionate nurses providing exceptional care across the Network.

“It takes a special kind of person to be a paediatric nurse. They show commitment, empathy and kindness in their interactions with patients and families every day, providing support and making a difference at a time when it is needed most. The finalists exemplify these qualities and I congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition. They are truly inspirational."

Beckie Petulla, is a Paediatric Complex and Artificial Airways Clinical Nurse Consultant at SCH.

“I believe I have one of the best jobs in the bizz - I get to work with truly innovative leaders in healthcare and together we support children and their families living with tracheostomies, mechanical ventilation and other airway devices,” Beckie said.

“I work closely with children and their families throughout their complex airway journey, training and preparing them to safely leave hospital and return home where these kids are breaking glass ceilings and showing society that nothing can hold them back or stop them reaching their potential."

“I’m incredibly proud to lead the upskilling of nurses around the state to support children with tracheostomies live their best lives, wherever home is for them.”

Hayley Fisher is a Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Safe Haven and Suicide Prevention Outreach Team (SPOT) at SCH which provides alternative care to young people experiencing suicidal distress. Her role entails meeting young people and their families, hearing their story and offering outreach to support various aspects of their mental health and wellbeing.

“It is truly an honour to be nominated for this award. I am humbled to meet such incredible young people and families in the line of work that I do, young people and families who are resilient in the face of unimaginable challenges and adversity. Every young person I meet has a unique story and journey that I respect and value."

Danielle Gardner, Clinical Nurse Consultant Cleft and Craniofacial at SCH, helps co-ordinate the care and surgeries of children born with facial and skull differences.

“I usually meet families within the first few weeks to months of their child’s life, or sometimes even pre-natally,” Danielle said.

“I become the main point of contact for these families, and often the first person they go to for support and guidance along the way. It means so much to hear that families really appreciate what we as senior nurses all do."

"Our roles might not be directly at the bedside, but we do some very intensive, individual and heavily involved work with our patients at certain times in their journeys. So this nomination shows that we really do make a difference to the experience of patients and families.”

Lenore Maitland, a Clinical Nurse Educator/Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Emergency Department at SCH, is responsible for facilitating nursing education within the department and supporting nurses to develop their skills and knowledge in caring for paediatric patients in emergency situations.

“I am so grateful that in my role I can both support nurses in their professional development and be there to help families and their children on some of their hardest days.”

The finalists were announced today by NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce who expressed her gratitude for the contributions nurses and midwives make every day to elevate the human experience. Winners will be announced on Thursday 24 November.