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WNSWLHD announces Graduate Nurse of the Year

12 May 2022

The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is delighted to announce Stacey Denny as its winner of the inaugural Pauline Webster-Cox Award for the Graduate Registered Nurse of the Year.

Named in honour of Nurse Educator Pauline Webster-Cox, the award was established to recognise newly-graduated registered nurses from the preceding year who participated in the GradStart transition to professional practice program and embody the Living Well Together Values.

Adrian Fahy, WNSWLHD Executive Director of Quality, Clinical Safety and Nursing, congratulated Ms Denny for winning the inaugural award, announced on 12 May to help mark International Day of the Nurse.

“Stacey is an outstanding registered nurse. She has become a key member of the team at Gilgandra Multipurpose Service (MPS) and excelled in her GradStart program to the point she was fast-tracked into a number of other training programs,” Mr Fahy said.

“She is a true patient advocate and shows incredible empathy and care with every patient interaction she has. Her warmth and attitude not only helps to build relationships and trust with her patients but also with her team, and she is highly-respected by both.

“The skills, leadership and communication Stacey demonstrates are all far beyond what we would usually expect from a graduate registered nurse, and that is testament to both her talent but also her commitment and drive to continue developing.

“Stacey has become a wonderful mentor for this year’s graduate nurses at Gilgandra. The entire team at the MPS cannot speak highly enough of her, and the care she provides is regularly highlighted in feedback provided by patients and residents as well.

“It is clear Stacey is an incredible asset to Gilgandra MPS, WNSWLHD and NSW Health, she has an incredibly bright future and is very deserving of the inaugural Pauline Webster-Cox Award.”

Mr Fahy congratulated not only Ms Denny, but also all of the inaugural award’s nominees for their dedication, commitment and performance after entering the workforce during such a challenging period.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges we had not seen before as a network and our nurses, all of them, were at the forefront of that. They have done an incredible job,” Mr Fahy said.

“For our graduate nurses, joining the District’s workforce during such a demanding period is a challenge none of us should underestimate, but the experience they will gain from it will be invaluable as they move forward through their careers.

“So we must thank, congratulate and pay tribute to all our finalists for the inaugural Pauline Webster-Cox Award, but also the winners and finalists of all our Nursing and Midwifery Awards and our entire workforce.”

The Award was established to recognise Ms Webster-Cox’s dedication to graduate nurses during her time as a Nurse Educator at Dubbo. Now retired, she remains passionate about supporting and nurturing graduate nurses, not just in terms of skills development but also their social and emotional transition into the workforce.

Ms Webster-Cox set the criteria the new award is judged upon.

There are more nurses and midwives in NSW public hospitals than at any other time in history. Between 2012 and 2021, the nursing workforce and midwifery workforce in NSW increased by 9,599 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff, or 23 per cent, to 51,794 FTE.

The 2021-22 NSW Health total budget is $30.2 billion. The NSW Government is also investing in a further 5,000 nurses and midwives from 2019-2022 under a record $2.8 billion boost to frontline staff.