Jenny McKenzie says she has the best job in the world.
A nurse for more than 30 years, the Wagga mother said she was living the dream; helping residents live their final days to the fullest.
Nurse McKenzie is one of 3800 doctors, nurses and practitioners across the region, whose work was praised at the annual Murrumbidgee Local Health District Awards ceremony.
The MLHD chief on Friday said their excellence, innovation, collaboration and care helped to make a difference in the lives of many.
Ms McKenzie said receiving nominations for a number of awards had been flattering, but she never expected to be chosen as a winner.
So it was a wonderful surprise when she was bestowed with two.
The state’s second and longest serving palliative care nurse practitioner last week took out the Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery Leadership Award and the overall Leadership Award.
“I guess I’m a little embarrassed in some ways,” Nurse McKenzie said.
“It’s nice to be recognised by your colleagues … it’s also very nice to be recognised by management.”
She said it was the icing on the cake of a dream job.
“People may think working in palliative care is depressing,” Nurse McKenzie said.
“But it’s not at all. It is an awesome area to work in.”
She said dying took minutes, but the process could take weeks to months.
“If you’re miserable, you may be dead,” Nurse McKenzie said.
“You’ve got to make the most of every day … we all think, ‘lets do the best we can for as long as we can’.”
She said it was amazing to witness all the different achievements of her colleagues across the district on Friday night.
“There is a magic there,” Nurse McKenzie said. “It’s nice to be part of that.”
MLHD chief executive Jill Ludford said the 2018 Excellence Awards celebrated the initiatives of staff across the region, acknowledging the dedication and contribution they had made across the year.
The evening culminated in the presentation of the prestigious Don Kendell Memorial Leadership Award, which went to Mental Health Physical Healthcare and Clozapine Coordination district clinical leader Gale Hynes, from Young.
Winners of this year’s Health Excellence Awards
- Board Chair’s Choice Award: Presented to Wagga’s Paediatric Feeding Team
- Chief Executive’s Choice Award: Presented to Finley Innovation and Clinical Redesign manager Annie Williams
- Our People Our Future Award: Presented to Griffith Base Hospital Emergency Department
- Innovation Award: Presented to Deniliquin, Temora and Tumut’s Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway
- Focus on Wellness Award: Presented to the district’s School Canteen Network Project team
- Volunteer Award: Presented to Junee’s Ross Woolman
- Quality and Safety Award: Presented to Creating Positive Cultures working party, in Wagga
- Excellence Award: Presented to Wagga’s Mental Health Drug & Alcohol Multidisciplinary team
- Diversity Award: Presented to West Wyalong Health Service manager Rhonda Pitt
- Collaboration Award: Presented to Wagga’s Got It initiative
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award: Presented to Focus on the Future partnership at Narrandera