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NSW Health

Nursing and Midwifery
Every person. Every time. Exceptional care.

Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital 

Welcome to the Nursing and Midwifery Office newsletter

Issue two
June 2023

In this issue

  • May celebrations
  • Mental health practice
  • Nursing workforce forum

Regular content

  • Sneak peek
  • Celebrating
  • Important dates

Dear colleagues

Welcome to issue two of the Nursing and Midwifery Office (NaMO) newsletter and thank you for the wonderful feedback on issue one earlier this year. Our hope is that this newsletter highlights great work and is full of useful information.


One of the true joys of my job is getting out and visiting nurses and midwives across NSW. 

It is so important to hear directly from nurses and midwives and witness the real difference they all make every day, but also fundamental to making sure the Nursing and Midwifery Office’s projects and initiatives are relevant and meaningful.


It is vital what we do at NaMO is informed by what we hear and see in Local Health Districts and Specialty Networks.


I had the great pleasure of visiting Southern NSW LHD and speaking with nurses in the mental health service about the incredible work they do. I listened to newly graduated nurses sharing their experiences. Some told me that a mental health rotation hadn’t been their first choice, but that they were now looking forward to a career specialising in mental health nursing. 


I also had the opportunity to visit colleagues across Western NSW LHD, from Dubbo to Gilgandra, Warren, Nyngan and Bourke. It is inspiring to see outstanding commitment to professionalism and watch engaged, accomplished nurses and midwives at work.


You can read more about the skill and innovation being embraced in both these LHDs in this newsletter.


It was a delight to visit with the midwives from Western Sydney LHD for International Day of the Midwife, and with the nurses from Sydney LHD and Northern Sydney LHD for International Nurses Day. I was also able to join South Western Sydney's celebrations and showcase to hear about innovations they are leading. 


The NAMO team, including myself, are here to listen, learn and leverage the information and feedback we get from you all. If you want to share news or views, please get in touch at MOH-namonews@health.nsw.gov.au


Jacqui Cross

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, NSW Health

The merry month of May

May is always a real highlight in the annual nursing and midwifery calendar, with International Day of the Midwife on 5 May and International Nurses Day on 12 May.


Celebrations were had far and wide across NSW Health, and in acknowledgement of our nurses and midwives, here is the month of May in pictures and video.

Auburn Hosital, Western Sydney LHD

Westmead Hospital, Western Sydney LHD

Ministry morning tea

Sydney Childrens Hospital, Westmead

Balmain Hospital, Sydney LHD

Birra-Li, Central Coast LHD 

International Nurses Day 2023 

International Day of the Midwife 2023

2023 Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards nominations open now!

We’re pleased to announce that for the first time since 2019, the annual NSW Health Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards, now in their 11th year, will once again be face-to-face to recognise all the finalists and celebrate each Award recipient.

On 16 November, NaMO will host the Awards at NSW Parliament House, and because we’ve loved the pre-recorded interviews with all the finalists across the state, we’re going to keep that tradition going and include them in the event on 16 November.

We’ll also be recording the whole event and sending out a one-hour version in late November for everyone across the state to enjoy. It’ll mean the finalists and winners can be suitably honoured at Parliament House, and then be able to celebrate locally with their peers and colleagues once they’re back home again, by watching the show together in either a formal or informal way.

Have you noticed exceptional work from a colleague, or received outstanding care as a patient yourself? Nominate a special nurse or midwife for a Healing heart Award now. Nominations for the Healing Heart (Colleague) and Healing Hear (Consumer) awards are now open to everyone until 23 June.

Achievements in mental health practice

Nursing Unit Manager Gavan Pinne and the multi-disciplinary team from the 14-bed Bega Mental Health Inpatient Unit have reached a new record of 373 days without using seclusion techniques. This important milestone comes on the back of a similar 341-day stretch.

In the past two years, only two consumers have required seclusion techniques in the unit.

Gavan attributes the team’s success to individualised care, strong collaborative relationships with consumers, a higher tolerance of expressed emotion, early intervention, alternate solutions, and clinical leadership.

"The team and consumers work together to increase engagement and reduce conflict. Our mantra is 'there’s no time-limit for de-escalation'.

"We spend as much time as needed to help consumers de-escalate and keep everyone as safe as possible. We all benefit from the increased engagement, peace and safety," Gavan said.

"These results are a real testament to the skills, focus and compassion of everyone involved and what a great outcome for those in your care," said Jacqui Cross.

"It's clear the decrease in the use of seclusion is as a result of leadership at all levels and a robust approach in making changes to the way care is delivered. It's such a wonderful example of what can be achieved when we come together as a team."  

Feedback from inpatients from the Your Experience of Service mental health consumer survey demonstrates the difference the Bega team’s therapeutic engagement and collaborative care has made to consumers:

"I felt safe and well cared for. It gave me time for clarity on my family longterm. I had great fears but feel calm now."

"The staff were friendly and helpful. They helped me long the way to recovery."

Tricia O’Riordan, Director, Clinical Services and Programs, Mental Health Branch at NSW Health, congratulated the Bega team on their achievements.

“It’s great to see the reduction of the use of restrictive practices,” she said.

“The Mental Health Branch provided a series of webinars and individual leadership coaching on the Six Core Strategies© to assist work to reduce, and where possible, eliminate seclusion and restraint practices.

"The webinars were designed to support clinicians, managers and other staff involved in de-escalating consumers with acute behavioural disturbance across acute mental health units, Mental Health Intensive Care Units, Psychiatric Emergency Care Centres or Emergency Departments,” Tricia said.

Sizwile presenting in Malta

Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District Clinical Nurse Consultant, Sizwile Havilla, has led a project that has significantly reduced seclusion rates by up to 75%.

“We adopted the Six Core Strategies framework to improve practice in this area,” said Sizwile.

“There were clear changes in our practice culture and seclusion became a practice of last resort while other, more therapeutic options became prominent in staff’s practice."

Sizwile was a guest at the Horatio Congress of Psychiatric Nursing in Malta in March this year where she shared Illawarra Shoalhaven’s impressive work with an international audience.

Sneak peek

Recently NaMO collaborated with Christine Stephens, Director of Nursing and Midwifery in Murrumbidgee LHD, on a filming project to gather and share nursing and midwifery stories from across the District. The content created is warm, genuine and intelligent. Thank you to the amazing nurses and midwives across Murrumbidgee who helped out. Here’s a sneak peek.

Murrumbidgee nursing and midwifery


Left to right - Lucille Niddrie, Kathleen Bohannon, Samantha Blackwell, Kristy Leonard, Bec Baxter, Mackenzie Clarke, Jessica Morison, Katrina McLeod, and Elise McCarthy-McPhan

In April NaMO’s Principal Advisor for Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Strategy, and proud Darug woman, Elise McCarthy McPhan, visited Mid North Coast LHD for a training day, as part of the Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Mentoring Program.


It was an opportunity for some focussed professional development and to train and support the mentors who will in turn support NSW Health Aboriginal nursing and midwifery cadets working in MNCLHD.

The program was facilitated by Nurse Manager, Aboriginal Health and Nursing and Midwifery Initiatives, Kathleen Bohannon, and Mentoring in Midwifery (MiM) Facilitator, Katrina McLeod

And with a beautiful backdrop like the one above, it can’t hurt the process!


The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, NSW Health, Jacqui Cross, recently visited Southern NSW LHD and Western NSW LHD to catchup with inspiring nurses who are creatively managing the challenges and opportunities that epitomise rural health care - and that's worth celebrating.


Teams in Western NSWLHD very proudly shared some of their innovative initiatives, all of which focus on supporting their workforce and enables them to provide professional, high quality care that caters to the  specific needs of their local populations.


Dubbo Base Hospital, Western NSW LHD

vCare in Western NSW LHD

Despite being as large as the UK, WNSWLHD ensures every rural and remote patient (and every nurse and midwife providing care) has 24/7 access to virtual clinical advice, monitoring and care co-ordination through specialist vCare nurses and doctors.

Graduate nurses and experienced staff alike spoke glowingly of life in WNSWLHD, sharing their favourite parts so far, including professional opportunities, a sense of community and the fabulous local landscapes and delicacies.

In Southern NSW LHD, the Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs (MHAOD) team held a mini showcase at Kenmore Hospital (Goulburn) for district colleagues. Standouts from the thought-provoking agenda included segments on Safe Start, and a new nurse practitioner-led service model where AOD NPs will improve responses to Emergency presentations and increase access to Opioid Agonist Treatment and ambulatory withdrawal management, including prescribing pharmacotherapies.

Southern NSW LHD

Jacqui Cross joined Alison Broadbent, SNSWLHD Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Clinical Governance, and MHAOD leaders Rose Roberts, Emma Harrington and Kimberley Cochrane, and colleagues, for a tour of the acute mental health inpatient unit at the Chisolm Ross Centre, followed by an inspiring discussion with early career nurses about their professional aspirations and opportunities.

Truly exceptional LHD models that support safe, quality healthcare.

Focus on the nursing workforce and learning pathways

At the Nursing and Midwifery Office we welcome opportunities for networking and collaboration to maintain strong and fruitful relationships with our important stakeholders - the people we partner with on initiatives, share information with and work together to ensure a vibrant and supported nursing workforce.

That’s what NaMO did in late April, hosting a Nursing Workforce Forum that brought together University Deans and Heads of Nursing, LHD Directors of Nursing and Midwifery from across NSW Health, and LHD nursing workforce representatives.

The group looked at opportunities to collaborate and work together, with a focus on then undergraduate and transitioning nursing workforce; shaping learning environments to support them in NSW Health.

“It was an inspiring and exciting day full of rich conversation that demonstrated a willingness to come together to shape the future nursing workforce,” said Jacqui Cross, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer.

“It also acknowledged not only the opportunities, but also the challenges that exist currently.

“It’s critical we do this regularly and make a commitment to continue to have critical conversations and explore new ways of collaborating and to identify priorities we can work on together.

“The future nursing workforce needs to be prepared and capable and be able to embrace work/life balance and flexibility.”

Below are images from the Forum, featuring District Directors of Nursing and Midwifery, University Deans and Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Jacqui Cross

Below are images from the Forum featuring District Directors of Nursing and Midwifery, University Deans and Jacqui Cross

Important dates // June, July, August

5 JUNE: Applications for NSW Health 2024 MidStart recruitment close 11:59pm

20 JUNE: Applications for the NSW Health 2024 GradStart recruitment open 9am 20 June and close 11:59pm 3 July.

23 JUNE: Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards 2023 nominations close


17 JULY: Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards 2023 statewide finalists announced

25 AUGUST: Wear it Purple Day – annual LGBTIQA+ awareness day.

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