Bathurst nurse Katherine McQuillan has been nominated for a nurse of the year award, after her tireless work to improve the availability of hepatitis C services to disadvantaged people living in regional NSW.
The nomination comes from superannuation fund HESTA, who have nominated another three finalists for the 2018 Nurse or Midwife of the Year.
Ms McQuillan, who has been a nurse at the liver and viral clinic at the Bathurst Base Hospital for the past seven years, said she was both surprised and shocked when she learned of her nomination.
“I’m just grateful that our HIV team has got the acknowledgement for the work we are doing out here,” she said.
In her seven years at the hospital’s liver and viral clinic, the program was stretched out to support neighbouring towns.
“Over the last seven years, we’ve had a liver clinic in Bathurst that reaches out to the Mudgee and Cowra areas. We provide services in those smaller towns,” she said.
“We have a liver clinic once a month in Bathurst with doctor Bruce McGarity.”
The hospital has also started up an Aboriginal wellness clinic, where Bathurst Aboriginal clients are screened for viral hepatitis and liver disease.
I’m just grateful.Bathurst nurse Katherine McQuillan
Ms McQuillan said its important for people to be screened for hepatitis C because two per cent of the Australian population live with the disease.
“There’s a new direct-acting antiviral treatment that came out two years ago and we’ve actually treated 50,000 people in Australia in the last two years,” she said.
“People just really need to know this life saving treatment is available.
“We just want to basically raise awareness and get people in and cure them because hepatitis C is curable.”
Other nominations included the Outstanding Graduate and Team Excellence awards.
Winners are set to be announced at the 2018 HESTA Australian Nursing and Midwifery Awards dinner in Melbourne on May 10.
HESTA chief executive officer Debby Blakey said this year’s finalists were selected for their outstanding initiative in developing innovative services and processes that elevate levels of care.
“This year’s finalists have shown an inspiring level of dedication to improving the standards of care provided to their patients,” she said.
“They have identified gaps in service provision and come up with solutions.”