NSW Government

NSW Health

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

Westmead Hospital Western Sydney LHD

Welcome to the Nursing and Midwifery Office's latest newsletter

Issue five
March 2024

In this issue

  • Leadership development
  • Mentoring in Midwifery
  • Emergency nursing

Regular content

  • GradStart and MidStart
  • 2024 Award nominations
  • Important dates

Dear colleagues


Welcome to the first newsletter of the year. I hope 2024 is off to a great start for you all.


I am sure your ‘to do’ lists are already filling up, and that this year will be another busy one full of achievement, skill building, advocacy, planning, teamwork, and supporting one another; and with the odd challenge thrown in for good measure.


One of the items on my 2024 ‘to do’ list is to reflect on real difference that we all make.


As the single largest group within NSW Health, nurses and midwives are there at every turn, working alongside our colleagues, making a real difference to the care and the experience of patients, women, and their families and carers.


Every day when you go to work, I encourage you to remember how important your contributions are, how vital you are to the NSW Health system, and how your experience and skill changes lives. Your value as individuals, and as a workforce, is exceptional. Now and for the future.


In this issue, there’s a story about emergency care and assessment and the skill of emergency nurses, a piece about Mentoring in Midwifery and the connections it brings, and a feature on leadership and the deep value nursing and midwifery leaders bring to our health system.


I also want to send a warmest of welcomes to this year’s new graduate cohort. I hope you’ll make rich and rewarding connections with each other and the teams around you. To those of you who completed your first year with us in 2023, I hope you have decided to stay with us here in NSW health, and I know that you will be there to support this year’s new graduate nurses and midwives who be following in your footsteps.


Jacqui Cross

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, NSW Health

Heart and soul in May

Back in 2020 COVID brought disruption in so many ways, including how we recognised International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses Day


2020 was decreed by the World Health Organisation as The International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, and, as other plans were put to one side, NaMO quickly dispatched blue and purple ‘healing heart’ stickers across the state to help mark these important days.


The small but heartfelt gesture struck a chord, and so an annual tradition began. Four years later, the Healing Heart stickers, it seems, have stuck.


The annual Healing Hearts Campaign has become a simple yet meaningful way to recognise and acknowledge the contribution of the nurses and midwives of NSW, and we hope it will enhance or supplement any local activities you have planned.


The stickers, posters and postcards will arrive in your Local Health District in the first week of April, to allow time for them to be distributed far and wide across the districts.


The stickers can be made available for all staff and visitors to wear between 5-18 May.


The posters can be displayed prominently in the main entrance/foyer area of the hospital/facility and be accompanied by a space to pin or post thank you postcards.


The postcards enable staff and visitors to write messages of thanks and support for individual nurses and midwives – or teams of nurses and midwives – who have helped them.


You may want to supplement your display area with blue and purple decorations, such as balloons, to make sure the area stands out and attracts attention.


Send us some happy snaps of your healing heart displays: to MOH-namonews@health.nsw.gov.au


A huge thank you to the Directors of Nursing and Midwifery and their teams, who are tasked with the distribution of the Healing Heart posters, post cards and stickers.

Like most good things, it takes a village to achieve, and it is due to the wonderful work of you all that this tradition has caught on.

St Vincent's Hospital, SVHN

Auburn Hospital, Western Sydney LHD

 South Western Sydney LHD

Tweed Heads Hospital, NNSW LHD

Sutherland Hospital, SESLHD

Lithgow Hospital, Nepean Blue Mountains 

Leadership programs in focus

The Nursing and Midwifery Office holds leadership development as one of its core strategies.


“At the state level, we whole-heartedly recognise that leadership skills are a central capability for nurses and midwives,” Jacqui Cross said.


“Leadership at all levels is a key strategy for me as the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, strong leadership at all levels has the biggest single impact on the cultures in which we work and that translates to the way that we treat one another and to the way that we provide care. It is absolutely linked to the delivery of safe, quality, compassionate care.”


“I believe an excellent leader is an instrument for transformation,” says Michael Peregrina, the Nursing and Midwifery Office’s Principal Advisor Leadership and Culture.


“That leader also creates a domino effect through a team and right through to the care provided to clients, patients and consumers.”


Within the Nursing and Midwifery Office team, we have co-created an evidence-based suite of professional development options, targeted and funded, to support nurses and midwives to reach their full leadership potential at every career stage, including tailored leadership courses Take the Lead - customised for NUMs/MUMs - and In the Lead, the follow-on program for senior nursing and midwifery managers.


In February 2024, In the Lead held its first face-to-face workshop as part of a 12-month program which started in September 2023. The program consists of face-to-face workshops, peer consultation, mentoring, webinar sessions and online platform for learning.


“I’m really enjoying the networking and being face-to-face. It’s been too long since we’ve been able to be together,” said one participant.


“I’m here ready to learn and for my cup to be filled up,” said another. “I’m excited and curious about what is coming.”


NaMO’s foundational leadership program, Take the Lead, designed to equip NUMs/MUMs to lead change, foster positive team cultures and inspire exceptional care, welcomes a new cohort who will start in May 2024.


Both In the Lead and Take the Lead explore the elements of:


- Self-awareness: personal and professional development

- Professional standards and ethics: the moral compass

- Awareness of others: people, politics, and governance

- Context: organisation, structure, and function.


“I’m a big fan of the four Ls: love, listen, learn and lead,” says Michael. “Love what you do and the team you lead.


“Listen to what they say and what they don’t say. Embrace a continuous love for learning. You can’t have leadership without learning. And then lead by example.”


For more information regarding In the Lead and Take the Lead please visit the Leadership and culture (nsw.gov.au) on the HSW Health website.


For general information regarding personal and professional development as a nursing and midwifery leader, please visit the Leader Success profiles on the HSW Health website.

In the Lead leadership development group workshop February 2024

The skills and professionalism of emergency nursing

Emergency nurses are at the frontline of our health services, assessing and caring for the 250,000 patients who present at emergency departments in NSW every month.


Their clinical skill, adaptability and critical thinking makes a powerful difference to a patient’s experience.


“Nurses are the glue that holds an ED together,” says Adjunct Associate Professor Matt Lutze, Principal Advisor Nursing Practice, NSW Health.


“Emergency nurses are part of a highly skilled multidisciplinary team all contributing to patient care and positive patient experiences.”


The Agency for Clinical Innovation has led the development of the new Emergency Care Assessment and Treatment (ECAT) program to standardise the assessment and treatment of ED patients across the state. The program has harnessed collaboration with key partners including Local Health Districts and Speciality Health Networks, Health Education and Training Institute, Clinical Excellence Commission, eHealth and the Nursing and Midwifery Office.


ECAT protocols will be used by nurses after triage and before a patient is seen by a doctor, nurse practitioner or physiotherapist. It’s a critical time in a patient’s journey. The protocols enable patients to receive best-practice care earlier in their attendance whilst supporting emergency nurses to work to their full scope of practice.


ECAT incorporates several key pieces, including the development of nurse-initiated protocols, a standardised nursing education pathway to support the transferability of skills across NSW, and implementation resources.


“It was critically important for the Nursing and Midwifery Office to collaborate on this new work and provide advice and leadership in this space,” said Matt.


“Not only do the new protocols mean a nurse can proactively attend to the needs of a patient – which is great for the patient, their family, and the nurse – but it also means an emergency nurses’ skill and expertise is recognised across the state.


“Having one standardised and agreed set of protocols around emergency assessment and treatment makes perfect sense – and will enable nurses to work to the very best of their abilities and their full scope of practice.”


Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Jacqui Cross, is co-chair of the ECAT implementation steering committee, as part of her commitment in ensuring that nurses are supported to work to their full capacity within our Emergency Departments.


“Nurses have long demonstrated their willingness and agility in leading practice development to respond to the changing needs of our communities. This commitment drives innovation directed at meeting patient care needs, particularly in time-critical situations such as Emergency departments,” she said.


Join the ECAT mailing list to stay up to date with the ECAT Program or join the ECAT Implementation Community of Practice.

The Mentoring in Midwifery program

The Mentoring in Midwifery (MiM) program is designed to develop mentoring relationships that expand opportunities for connection, learning, and growth for midwives and midwifery students.


This program, designed in collaboration with midwifery managers and leaders across NSW, was developed to provide an innovative, sustainable mentoring program that can be embedded into everyday midwifery practice. It supports the midwifery profession, develops leadership at all levels, and helps in the retention of a strong, confident, and skilled midwifery workforce.


As one participant in the MiM program said, “I like the resources and have been using them after a shift to help me reflect on my practice and find out how I can improve.”


The mentoring model is built on five phases where continuous reflection, learning and feedback are woven into the program. The intended outcome is that midwives and midwifery students experience together a sense of security, belonging, purpose, continuity, achievement, and significance.


In May, MiM will feature in a NSW Health Value Based Healthcare webinar, called The power of mentoring and the value of a healthy workforce culture.


The webinar will be held on 7 May 11am-noon, and attendees will learn more about:


 - how the MiM experience has rolled out, with case studies from Nepean Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney, South Eastern Sydney and Southern NSW local health districts.


 - how easy it is to introduce powerful but simple mentoring conversations and tools into the everyday that build a resilient, compassionate, and capable workforce.


 - how mentors and mentees experience a sense of safety, belonging, achievement, significance, purpose, and continuity.


In the session, a panel of colleagues involved in this innovative program will give their own local and statewide perspectives on MiM and share some of the easy ways the mentoring tools can be incorporated across all kinds of health settings. There will also be opportunity for attendees to ask questions of the panel members.


You can find the latest information about this and other webinars on the Value@NSWHealth events page.


MidStart midwifery students Kim Stubbs and Rebecca Reid with Sharni Chimenti, CME, and Caroline Staniforth, Midwifery

Manager and MiM Facilitator, Western NSW LHD

Welcome GradStarters in the Far West

A very warm welcome to the 20 GradStart nurses and midwives who started their careers in the Far West Local Health District in February.

“February is definitely one of my favourite times of the year, when the Far West LHD welcomes the new graduates,” said Corey Sclater, Nurse Manager, Nursing & Midwifery Leadership & Workforce Development.

“There’s something quite exciting about being able to support and nurture a group that will be a big part of the future of NSW Health, especially in our rural and remote communities we call home.”

The Far West new graduates are some of the more than 3,400 graduate nurses and midwives who will start work across metro and regional NSW public hospitals this year, ready to gain invaluable experience across a broad range of clinical settings and in community healthcare.

Far West new graduates at training week in February, with Wendy Gleeson, Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery far right and Brad Astill, Chief Executive FWLHD, third from left

MidStart recruitment

May is MidStart month at the Nursing and Midwifery Office, encouraging registered nurses interested in a career in midwifery to make it happen.


Working with women and their families at such a significant time in their lives is dynamic and rewarding.

Listen to Nadia speak about her MidStart experience at Moree Hospital in the Hunter New England LHD  

MidStart is the process for registered nurses to become registered midwives, combining paid work with study. Registered nurses can enrol in a recognised postgraduate university program while being concurrently employed in a dedicated midwifery student position in a NSW public maternity service.

Recruitment into MidStart is competitive. It is important to ensure you submit the best application possible, so start planning now.

Applications for MidStart 2025 open 21 May and close 3 June.

Get ready to nominate

Watch this video for inspiration, courtesy of some of last year’s Award finalists and winners.

The month of May is all about nursing and midwifery – as it should be with International Day of the Midwife on 5 May and International Nurses Day on 12 May.


It’s also the month nominations for the 2024 Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards open, from Monday 6 May until Friday 14 June. 

Important dates // March, April and May

21 MARCH: Close the Gap Day

1 APRIL: April Falls Day 2024 is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of falls and to promote the latest best practice fall prevention strategies.

7 APRIL: World Health Day is celebrated annually and each year draws attention to a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. This year, the theme is My Health, my right.

5-18 MAY: Healing Hearts campaign. May is the time to celebrate nursing and midwifery!

8 MAY: Mentoring in Midwifery (MiM) webinar - find out more

21 MAY-3 JUNE: MidStart recruitment for 2025 open.

26 MAY: National Sorry Day

27 MAY - 3 JUNE: National Reconciliation Week The theme for 2024Now More Than Ever, is a reminder to all of us that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will —and must —continue.

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