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Humpty Dumpty Foundation announces winner of the Michelle Beets Awards

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The Humpty Dumpty Foundation has announced the New South Wales Metropolitan and Regional winners of the 2022 Michelle Beets Award for Inspirational Paediatric Care as well as two highly commended recipients.

The Michelle Beets Award has been held since 2012 to honour the memory of Michelle Beets – a devoted and highly respected nurse who worked at Royal North Shore Hospital for 25 years, including 10 years as Nurse Manager in its Emergency Department.

“Each year we are presented with outstanding candidates in all areas of paediatric care which makes for an incredibly difficult task for our judging panel,” said Humpty Dumpty Foundation Founder and Chairman, Paul Francis OAM.

This year’s Metropolitan winner is Sydney Children’s Hospital Network’s Katie Geering.

A passionate and committed Orthoptist, Katie recently developed a dedicated paediatric orthoptic department in Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick which has improved paediatric eye care.

Highly regarded by her peers, Katie is involved in exciting gene therapy research which is restoring sight in inherited retinal disease – a life-changing therapy that brings hope to patients who are blind from genetic conditions with mutations of the RPE65 gene, such as Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis.

She is also involved in a multidisciplinary clinical trial in Stargardt’s disease, also an inherited retinal disease diagnosed in early adolescence that eventuates in blindness by adulthood.

Western NSW Local Hospital District’s Dominique Spork has been named this year’s Regional winner of the 2022 Michelle Beets Award for Inspirational Paediatric Care.

With a history of going above and beyond in her quest to improve the care provided to children and their families, Dominique constantly seeks out innovative ways to provide holistic care to patients.

A highly respected Paediatric Clinical Nurse Consultant and Nurse Manager, Dominique developed ways to safely manage COVID-19-positive children through the Western NSW Local Hospital District’s virtual service.

Katie and Dominique will each receive $25,000 worth of medical equipment through the Humpty Dumpty Foundation for use in their facility and a $5,000 bursary for professional development, training, or research. The $60,000 in funding for this award has been provided by NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard.

“Congratulations to both Katie and Dominique in being announced this year’s 2022 Michelle Beets Award for Inspirational Paediatric Care winners. Katie and Dominique demonstrate an unwavering commitment to patients in their care as well as in their wider community,” added Francis.

“It is with great thanks to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard for his continued support of this important award and a heartfelt thank you for all those in healthcare who have taken the time to submit their nominations.”

Related: Foundation calls for nominations for Michelle Beets Award

Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, said the award is another way of paying homage for the undeniable contribution made by healthcare workers to improving health outcomes for children and young people.

“It brings me great pride to see the incredible work of our healthcare professionals who go above and beyond to support children with complex medical conditions and their families. NSW has some of the world’s best clinicians and their important work is helping to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Hazzard said.

Janine Sawyer of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead has been named this year’s Metropolitan Highly Commended recipient.

With more than 30 years of experience in complex liver disease and liver transplantation, Janine is a Clinical Nurse Consultant who undertakes a wide range of roles within the Liver Transplantation Unit including coordinating most aspects of the service, mentoring junior nurses and residents as well as providing support to distressed families.

Janine was also a key driver in establishing telehealth in the liver clinic due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has gone on to greatly assist families.

Kempsey District Hospital’s Midwife Patricia Neal has been named the Regional Highly Commended recipient.

Having worked in rural, remote, and overseas midwifery services and with over 40 years of experience, Patricia’s expertise and passion is caring for unwell neonates. Selfless, Patricia will present to the hospital on her days off work to assist in neonatal resuscitations.

She is also acknowledged for her dedication to the teaching of junior staff and for the tremendous care she provides to the families of unwell neonates by ensuring they are constantly involved as well as helping to refer to tertiary centre services and arranging family transport.

The Michelle Beets Award for Inspirational Paediatric Care honours the memory of Michelle Beets, a devoted and highly respected nurse who worked at Royal North Shore Hospital and tragically lost her life in 2010.

Entrants were peer-nominated, and the award was open to individual health professionals employed within NSW Health and delivering paediatric care across the full spectrum of clinical practice, including medical, midwifery, nursing, and allied health.

Entries were required to demonstrate how the nominee met the award criteria of clinical excellence in paediatric care, commitment to the principles of person-centred care, innovation, and improvements in the quality of care, and inspiring others.

Related: Featured CEO: Paul Francis OAM talks about the importance of Communication

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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