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Sue Hegarty awarded Nurse of the Year 2022

Ovarian Cancer Australia nurse named Nurse of the Year at the 2022 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Award 

Women’s health changemaker, Sue Hegarty, has been named Nurse of the Year at the 2022 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards. 

Each year, the HESTA awards acknowledge an exceptional nurse delivering outstanding patient care. The 2022 award recognizes Sue’s outstanding leadership in specialist cancer nursing, in particular ovarian cancer, Australia’s deadliest women’s cancer.  

In her role as Chief of Support Programs at Ovarian Cancer Australia, Sue leads a group of specialist ovarian cancer nurses, psychologists, social workers, and other allied health professionals in delivering Australia-wide support and information for women with ovarian cancer. Under Sue’s stewardship, the organisation’s nurse and allied health team has transformed from just three in 2016 to twenty-four in 2022. 

Sue said supporting the 5,000 women and their families affected by ovarian cancer has been one of the highlights of her 26-year career. 

“Women with ovarian cancer want supportive care services to be available to them no matter where they live. With the launch of Ovarian Cancer Australia’s Teal Support Program, women from across Australia now have access to the support and information they need and deserve. It’s an honour to establish this program with my colleagues and see it continue to grow and benefit these women in such a significant way,” Sue said.    

Along with her support work, Sue spearheads crucial research and advocacy work at Ovarian Cancer Australia. In recognition of the unique psychosocial burden facing women with ovarian cancer and the need for a strong evidence-base to inform OCA’s services, Sue led the development of a psycho-oncology research program that to date includes over 13 studies and 7 publications.  

In addition, Sue and her colleagues convened the first ovarian cancer symposium at the International Psycho-oncology World Conference in Hong Kong in 2018, the outcomes of which have been used to establish evidence-based programs at Ovarian Cancer Australia.  

In collaboration with the Ovarian Cancer Australia CEO, Jane Hill, Sue developed the National Action Plan for Ovarian Cancer Research. This landmark plan involved consultation with over 50 gynaecological health professionals and women with ovarian cancer and resulted in the Australian Government funding a $20 million research grant round — the first targeted ovarian cancer funding round of the Medical Research Future Fund. 

In taking out this award, Sue receives prize money of $10,000, which she says will go towards ensuring everyone in her team has access to bi-annual evidence-based communications skills training. 

“I accept this award on behalf of my wonderful team who work incredibly hard so that no woman with this disease has to walk alone. I’m so proud and grateful to showcase the essential work we’re doing at Ovarian Cancer Australia. The recognition and additional funding from HESTA will allow me to continuously improve our services and further benefit the women we support,” Sue said. 

The HESTA Awards winners were announced at a ceremony on the evening of Thursday 19 May. Other nominees in the Nurse of the Year category were Karen Bellamy, Monash Health Coordinator for the COVID-19 Victorian Specialist Immunisation Services, and Talay Quinlan, who was recognised for her work as a Clinical Domestic Violence Nurse. 

Media: Emma Schwarer (m) 0466 492 520 (e) emma.schwarer@ovariancancer.net.au


20 May 2022
Category: News
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