A Wagga palliative care nurse has won a statewide award.
Nurse practitioner Jenny McKenzie was named staff member of the year for her outstanding work in providing palliative care to patients living in rural parts of NSW.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District, which includes Wagga Base Hospital, where Ms McKenzie works, won three out of 11 categories in the 2018 NSW Health Awards, which recognise the department’s workforce, at a ceremony on Monday night.
With a background in medical oncology and haematology, Ms McKenzie was recognised for “going the extra mile for her patients”.
Ms McKenzie was on Tuesday still overwhelmed by the award win.
“It is very flattering to be recognised, but I think it is still sinking in,” she said.
"I am one of those fortunate people who have a job they love and can make a difference.”
Ms McKenzie, who has two school-aged children and “an extremely supportive husband” has been working in palliative care for more than 20 years.
"The passion started when I was a student nurse and it hasn’t faded yet,” she said.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard was on hand in Sydney on Monday night to present the awards.
“Jenny mentors colleagues superbly but above all, she’s a tireless advocate for her patients and their rights,” Mr Hazzard said.
“It’s a justly deserved honour for her efforts and her skills that she’s won such a prestigious award,” he added.
In October, Ms McKenzie was named joint winner of the consumer appreciation award at the NSW Health Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards in Sydney.
A team from Wagga Base Hospital’s mental health recovery unit was recognised for a program empowering consumers to take control of their own recovery journeys.
The Wagga hospital’s mental health inpatient unit multidisciplinary team achieved outstanding results helping to reduce weight gain experienced while someone is an in-patient.
The mental health recovery unit’s patients as partners program, which advocates a patient-led recovery, was also recognised.
Having three finalists in 11 categories is a major win for regional NSW, MLHD chief executive Jill Ludford said.
Ms Ludford paid tribute to Ms McKenzie, describing her as an extraordinary person.
“Jenny will articulate to you that it’s all about giving people some dignity in their last days of life and bringing them some joy and helping them to achieve their goals,” she said.