Annual ball showers nurses in glitz and glamour

Swapping scrubs for suits and ball gowns, more than 400 nurses from across the Network let their hair down last weekend in celebration of the 2023 Nurses Ball.

The event returned for the first time in five years, after the COVID-19 pandemic put gatherings on hold, bringing together nurses from The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, Bear Cottage and NETS to celebrate the invaluable role they play in our healthcare system.

The Network is fortunate to have around 2500 nurses dedicated to making a difference in the lives of sick and injured children and young people. The Nurses Ball is an important time to come together to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our nurses.

The event was opened by Cathryn Cox, Chief Executive of the Network, and Kristina Keneally, Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation.

Notable guests included Jacqui Cross, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer NSW, and Michelle Bishop from Channel 7 who also served as the master of ceremonies for the night.

This year’s SCHN Excellence in Nursing Award winners were presented at the Nurses Ball, recognising winners for exemplifying the diverse ways in which nurses make a meaningful impact every single day. The SCHN Excellence in Nursing Awards celebrate the incredible work, passion and contributions of our nurses, who positively impact the health outcomes of our patients and families across the Network.

Congratulations to the following nurses:

  1. New to Practice Nurse of the Year – Stella Cottrell Dormer – Registered Nurse Wade Ward CHW
  2. Aboriginal Nurse of the Year – Nicole Quinn – RN Orthopaedic Ward CHW
  3. Team of the Year – NETS Retrieval Nurses
  4. Leadership Award – Joanne Titterton – CNC Eating Disorders CHW
  5. Lifetime Achievement Award – Donna Drew – CNC Paediatric Oncology/Palliative Care SCH
  6. Nurse of the Year – Erin Beavis – CNC Paediatric Epilepsy/Telemetry SCH
  7. Healing Heart (Consumer Award) - Michael Purcell – CNC Respiratory SCH
  8. Healing Heart (Colleague Award) – Coco Knight – Registered Nurse – NICU CHW

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate this year’s recipients of the Excellence in Nursing Awards. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to read through the nominations for this year’s awards and very difficult for the judging panel to choose just one for each category," Alan Gardo, Acting Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Education, said.

"There were a staggering number of submissions coming from nurses, doctors, allied health staff, patients and family members, identifying the passion, commitment and dedication this year’s nominees have demonstrated. It is a wonderful affirmation of the impact nurses have on the children and families we care for.”

Two important nursing scholarships were also announced at the Nurses Ball. Congratulations to Briony Tyquin, CNC, Manager NSW Anaphylaxis Education Program, from the Dept of Allergy & Immunology at CHW for winning the Nursing Research Scholarship and to Alexandra Austin, Clinical Nurse Educator, CICU at SCH for being awarded the Verity Luckey Scholarship.

Highlights of the night were a moving speech from Byron Luckey about his mother, Verity Luckey. Verity was a beloved Director of Nursing for the Sydney Children’s Hospital, who sadly passed away earlier this year. The Verity Luckey Leadership Scholarship is instituted in memory of her service to nursing.

Attendees across the Network were excited to be able to come together after such a long gap, celebrating nursing, taking fun photos at booths and spending time together in a relaxed fun atmosphere.

The Network is grateful to the nurses who worked at our hospitals on the night of the Ball. As a token of their appreciation, the Nursing leadership team organised sweet treats and a special message to recognize their support and hard work.