Clinical Midwife Consultant with Eastern Health, Vanessa Watkins, has won the $20,000 major prize at the Deakin University-Health Super 2011 Leadership in Nursing and Midwifery Awards.
The annual awards are presented by Deakin and Health Super to recognise nurses and midwives who have contributed to the profession and benefited the public by improving health service delivery, capacity and/or policy.
The major award recognised Ms Watkins' outstanding leadership and dedication to midwifery through a project that enhanced maternity care at Eastern Health.
The Head of Deakin's School of Nursing and Midwifery, Professor Maxine Duke, said that Ms Watkins was a deserving winner of the major award.
"Ms Watkins exemplifies the spirit of the awards and is a role model for midwifery leadership not only within Eastern Health but for all in the profession," Professor Duke said.
"The Eastern Health Expected Pathways of Care for Pregnant Women project Ms Watkins implemented has broken through the hierarchical barriers often experienced between midwives and clinicians to create a model of collaboration that has resulted in improved care of women during and after pregnancy.
"The model is based on mutual respect and understanding of the professional roles of each clinician group involved in caring for pregnant women and is being held up as blueprint of practice by other health services in Australia.
"Ms Watkins is to be commended for her tenacity in bringing about the changes achieved at Eastern Health that have seen the role of the midwife embedded into clinical care within the hospital."
Two finalists have also been presented with $6000 awards:
- Martin Keogh, Alfred Hospital, for excellence in nursing and midwifery leadership in a metropolitan health care environment
- Jo Bourke, Barwon Health, for excellence in nursing and midwifery leadership in a regional/rural health care environment
Carol McKelson-Timmins, Deputy COO, First State Super said, "Health Super is proud to be the major sponsor of the 2011 Leadership in Nursing and Midwifery Awards. These awards recognise the excellent and often inspirational work our nurses and midwives perform in our community, as well as the key qualities of leadership and dedication to the profession. I warmly congratulate all of this year's award winners."