2024 Excellence in Rural and Remote Nursing

Felicity Jones – Bunbury Hospital, WA Country Health Service

Felicity is the Stomal Therapy/Wound Management Clinical Nurse Specialist for the WACHS, based in Bunbury. She is passionate about providing a specialist service to the communities in the region and has facilitated the growth in the Southwest Stomal Therapy services through her leadership, mentorship, support, and education. As an endorsed Nurse Practitioner, Felicity is hoping to bring an alternative health care model and innovative solutions by establishing a Nurse Practitioner led Stomal Therapy/Wound management service.  Felicity strongly believes nurses can transform health care and is constantly working to improve stoma and wound care services to meet community needs. She believes in keeping patients close to home where they can recover in a familiar environment surrounded by family, friends, and their community. Felicity achieves this by providing a flexible service to accommodate regional travel and telehealth, health direct and phone consultations to ensure patients who can’t travel still have access to services.

Lesley Forrester – Great Southern, WA Country Health Service

Lesley has contributed significantly to the Regional Palliative Care Service in WACHS Great Southern (GS) where she has been a Clinical Nurse Manager for 22 years, making it her ‘life’s work’ to ensure all GS rural and remote patients requiring palliative care receive ‘gold standard’ evidence-based and culturally sensitive care. Lesley demonstrates excellent collaboration, team building, mentoring, role modelling, clinical excellence, and complex problem-solving skills, striving continually to ensure quality care services are safely delivered with patients having the right to die in their place of choice. Collaborating with specialists and local GPs, Lesley coordinates appropriate pain control for patients to ensure their journey is one of dignity and respect, including family in all aspects of the palliative care process, which she does with professional and empathetic care. Lesley also provides ongoing support for nurses who participate in the challenge of end-of-life care, demonstrating to her staff how to combine the art and science of palliative care principles into a cohesive patient-centred approach that reflects the patient’s choice. Her work and professional ethics are impeccable.

Sinqobizitha Mndebele – York District Hospital, WA Country Health Service

Sinqobizitha demonstrates an unwavering passion for her profession being committed to deliver the best possible care to all her patients. Putting service above self is a hallmark of her approach as she is known for her tireless dedication, consistently going above and beyond the call of duty to overcome logistical challenges inherent in regional and remote nursing. Sinqobizitha exhibits outstanding leadership qualities that contribute to fostering a positive, productive, and compassionate workplace culture, creating an environment that inspires the best possible practice. Her inclusive approach fosters a sense of belonging and collective responsibility among her colleagues where she serves as a role model, exemplifying professionalism, integrity, and dedication, setting a high standard for others to follow. By attending community events and participating in local initiatives, Sinqobizitha actively engages with the local wheatbelt community building a strong rapport as she deeply understands their unique healthcare needs and challenges faced. All care delivered by Sinqobizitha and her team is then tailored to the specific needs and preferences of patients, with input sought from the patient and their family. Through engagement with local primary care providers, she has held community forums to understand and address rising trends in chronic conditions, and through connecting local healthcare providers with specialists, she ensures her patients receive timely and expert care.