NSLHD News 9 June 2023


Main story Short blurb celebrating clinical triALS TEAM International Clinical Trials Day provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate the scope of clinical trials across NSLHD. Page 3 Read more on Page x

NSLHD Nursing and Midwifery Awards Page 6

Pink Ladies donation to support carers Page 4


Message from the Acting chief executive Mark Zacka

It was wonderful to see seven nurses and midwives recognised in the recent NSLHD Nursing and Midwifery Awards for their care of patients and support and leadership to colleagues. The annual awards event followed recent celebrations held in May for our nurses and midwives for International Nurses Day and International Day of the Midwife. You can find out more about the event and learn about the recipients on page six of this newsletter. Patient safety is central to all of our work in the public health system. Staff are often the first people to recognise safety issues and sharing your experience can help identify what strategies are working well and what needs to improve. Next week we will be launching our 2023 Patient Safety Culture Survey. It will ask about staff perceptions and experiences at work on topics such as leadership, team interactions, communication and reporting of safety incidents. I encourage all staff working in clinical and non-clinical roles to take part in the survey. The results will be used as part of our district’s continual improvement of patient safety. Teams with 100 per cent, or very high, completion rates will be entered into a draw for the chance to win one of 12 $1000 cash prizes that can be used purchase resources for your area or support staff wellbeing. I am looking forward to our Quality and

Improvement Award ceremony at the end of this month. The awards put staff achievements in the spotlight and showcase the hard work and delivery of programs and services that have such a positive impact on the people we care for, our colleagues and the broader community. It is always a special event to celebrate staff achievements and the dedication and commitment that goes into providing high- quality care and positive experiences for our patients, consumers, their carers and families. These awards are prestigious in themselves but they also go on to inform entries that are submitted into the NSW Premier’s Awards and NSW Health Awards. Good luck to all the finalists of this year’s Quality and Improvement Awards.

Mark Zacka Acting Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



(Left to right): Associate Professor Angela Todd, Associate Professor Anthony Delaney, Associate Professor Alexander Guminski, Professor Bruce Robinson, Associate Professor Sarah Glastras, Professor David Hunter

Celebrating our clinical trials teams and their life- changing impact

International Clinical Trials day provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate the scope of clinical trials across NSLHD. More than a hundred people attended an event including members of our trial workforce, researchers, Director of Research Professor Bruce Robinson and Interim CE Lee Gregory. Lee said we have a strong clinical trial culture across the district, with close to 300 trials currently underway, involving more than a thousand staff. “This is a significant achievement which has helped to position the district as a leader in research and innovation,” he said. “Each trial is broadening our understanding, influencing policy, and contributing to new models of evidenced-based care. “We are in the fortunate position that we’re able to efficiently translate the latest research progress into clinical practice, and this is directly improving health outcomes and wellbeing. “I would like to acknowledge the remarkable impact of our clinical trials workforce.” Professor Robinson said the event provided the chance to recognise local and international clinical trials, and the contribution of patients and the trial workforce.

“Never lose sight of the value of clinical trials, the important benefits to the community and the broad access to new treatments and devices,” he said. “It is entirely possible that an investigator-led trial developed here could become a game- changer and alter global clinical practice.” Associate Professor Anthony Delaney from the RNSH Intensive Care Unit addressed the event, saying that trials undertaken during the COVID pandemic had demonstrated that you could produce significant results in a short space of time. “Our experience showed that an efficiently run trial, which was time and cost effective, could deliver tangible improvements to healthcare. “A good example of that was a large scale trial during Covid which showed that steroids were effective in saving lives, but hydroxychloroquine and antiviral medications were not effective. “By incorporating this evidence-based information, we were able to quickly improve patient outcomes, which was a wonderful result.” To mark the event, clinical trial teams also co-ordinated a dynamic display at RNSH to showcase a range of clinical trials and increase community engagement.



RNSH patient Jacqui, with mum and carer Linda, and Pink Ladies volunteer, Joy

Pink Ladies donate to support carers The Pink Ladies at RNSH have donated six recliner chairs to the Carers @ the Bedside

using the carer’s knowledge about their loved ones, particularly when there are complex co- morbidities including cognitive impairment or end-of-life support. RNSH patient Jacqui said having her mum, who is her full time carer, by her side has helped make her experience at the hospital a comfortable one. “Having mum staying at the hospital with me is a weight off my shoulders,” she said. “She knows me inside out, knows how my body works and the way it needs to move and she can provide help, like with brushing my teeth, going to the toilet or getting dressed.” For more information about the NSLHD Carer Support Service, please visit: https://bit.ly/ NSLHD-carers. If you would like to volunteer with the Pink Ladies, contact Joy on 0429 171 141. signage which currently does not refer to vaping. “We would really like to remind staff, patients and visitors that no smoking means no vaping,” she said. Take steps to quit vaping or smoking this World No Tobacco Day. Staff can receive cessation support and access up to four weeks of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy from the Staff Health Service. For further help to quit call the Quitline on 13 7848 (13 QUIT) or visit www.icanquit.com.au NSLHD Departments wishing to promote no smoking on site can email NSLHD- AlcoholTobaccoTeam@health.nsw.gov.au to receive a pack with pens, post-it notes and glasses lens cleaners (while stocks last).

initiative, allowing patients to have the support of their carers across the district. Carers @ the Bedside is an NSLHD Carer Support Service initiative that provides recliner chairs, bedding and meals for family carers during their stay so they can be at the bedside with their family member. The program runs across Royal North Shore, Ryde and Hornsby hospitals and has had a positive effect on carers, patients and clinicians. A post implementation survey of the program found 85 per cent of carers felt the program made them feel included in the decision making around the care of the patient. Clinicians surveyed fed back that having Carers @ the Bedside has allowed improvements in patient care planning by Vaping Equals Smoking In the lead up to World No Tobacco Day there was one clear message for staff, visitors, patients and community members: vaping equals smoking. Melissa Palermo, the Manager of the Population Health Promotion’s Tobacco Program advised that, vaping is treated the same as smoking under the Smoke free Environment Act 2000. “This means that wherever smoking is not permitted, vaping is also not permitted,” Melissa said. During recent smoking audits of NSLHD hospitals, the people observed vaping has increased. “This may suggest that some people think that vaping is allowed on hospital grounds,” said Melissa. This could be due to official no smoking



Attendees at the speech pathology workshop

RNSH hosts speech pathology workshop Royal North Shore Hospital recently hosted a first of its kind speech pathology workshop. The workshop was organised and run jointly between the speech pathology departments at Royal North Shore and Ryde hospitals. The theme of the workshop centred on the use fibre endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) to diagnose a patient’s swallowing, which involves passing a small camera into a person’s nose and down into the throat whilst they are eating and drinking. Clinicians from across Australia attended the workshop which involved analysing complex swallow presentations, discussing practical considerations around setting up a FEES service and hearings insights from ear, nose and throat colleagues. Man of many talents

Mark Schembri is a man of many talents, combining his passion for animals with helping women on their pregnancy journeys. Mark is a graduate of both veterinary and medical science who works as an obstetrician at Royal North Shore Hospital and a vet for the Australian Turf Club. Mark said he always had the goal of working across both animal and human medicine and an experience that his wife had during the birth of their second child inspired him to bring the dream to fruition. “I knew from a young age I always wanted to work across both human and animal medicine,” he said. “It was the doctors who looked after my wife through her situation who inspired me to want to do the same and help other women,” he said. Even though life as a doctor and vet can be busy, Mark still manages to make time for his wife and three children. “I spend different days of my week working across human medicine and animal medicine with the horses, so I manage to get a fair bit of time with my family,” he said. “I’m very lucky to have a very supportive wife and family who help me live a very fulfilling life.”

Dr Mark Schembri



NSLHD Director of Nursing and Midwifery Claire Harris with Midwife of the Year Anne Keely and RNSH Director of Nursing and Midwifery Tracey Gray

District Director of Nursing Award recipient RIchard Berman with MHDA staff

Nurses and midwives shine bright in awards A common theme was shared by the seven recipients in the NSLHD Nursing and Midwifery Awards this year: an empathetic approach to both patients and their colleagues.

brings an aura of calm that is shown through her work ethic, compassion, and clinical knowledge,” Claire said. Leadership Award of the Year was given to Amanda Pereira-Alury, a clinical nurse educator at Graythwaite Ryde Hospital. “Amanda’s highlight is her positivity, ability to self-reflect and do what she can to support the team in providing excellent patient care,” Claire said. RNSH’s Helen Elliott was awarded the Enrolled Nurse of the Year Award recognised for being “one of the kindest, generous, and giving nurses known.” Gradstart of the Year recipient was Josh Neely of ward 4C at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital for displaying “maturity and diplomacy beyond his experience and demonstrates the qualifications of a future leader.” District Director of Nursing Award for Excellence in Practice was awarded to Richard Berman, a clinical nurse consultant at Northern Beaches Community Mental Health Service, who “improves the service for both staff and consumers.”

All of the seven nurses and midwives were recognised not just for the care the provided to patients, but the support and leadership they gave to their colleagues. Registered Nurse of the Year went to Catherine Brennan (pictured on front cover) who works in community nursing. NSLHD Director of Nursing and Midwifery Claire Harris said Catherine exemplified excellence in nursing every day and had done so since working in the district since the late 1990s. “Catherine mentors our community nurses and emerging nurse leaders, coaching them to be the best they can and facilitating their professional and personal growth,” she said. Midwife of the Year went to Anne Keely who is part of the midwifery group practice at Ryde and RNSH. “Anne is a truly inspirational worker that

Claire Harris with Enrolled Nurse of the Year Helen Elliott

Ryde Hospital Director of Nursing and Midwifery Alecia Daly and Leadership Award of the Year recipient Amanda Pereira-Alury

Gradstart of the Year recipient Josh Neely with Hornsby Hospital Director of Nursing and Midwifery Drew Hilditch-Roberts



(Left to right): Caitlin Fenech, Dr Karin Aubrey, Dr Neda Assareh and Dr Yo Otsu

New approach delivers breakthrough for pain researchers A Researchers at the Kolling Institute have made important progress towards the periaqueductal gray, a part of the brain which influences pain responses and anxiety linked to pain.

development of new treatments for chronic pain by identifying a small group of cells which can control pain responses. The breakthrough comes as approximately 20 per cent of the world’s population suffers from chronic pain, including around 3.4 million Australians. Dr Neda Assareh, a neuroscientist research fellow from the Pain Management Research Centre said medications and psychological support offer some relief, but many people continue to experience ongoing pain without effective treatments, and this often leads to depression and anxiety. She says a large number of people continue to use opioids which can be addictive and ineffective. “Our team however, has been working to develop better and safer treatments for chronic pain by improving our understanding of which pain pathways shape the experience of pain,” she said. “In this ground-breaking study, we used an advanced bioengineering technique to investigate how the brain organises pain signals, and we found evidence that a never- investigated cell type can control pain. “The study relied on chemogenetics, a technique that allowed us to activate and inactivate a small population of glycinergic neurons in isolation. “These neurons are found in the midbrain

“Our study is the first to investigate the role of these neurons in setting pain thresholds, and we found that inhibiting the activity of the glycine-PAG neurons reduced pain responses in both sexes. It was important to test responses with both sexes as we know that pain affects men and women differently.” Senior researcher Dr Karin Aubrey has welcomed the discovery of this unique group of cells which control pain responses. “Importantly, there are only a small percentage of these neurons in the midbrain, so by targeting these cells, we may be able to develop medications which reduce pain with fewer side effects than existing medicines, “ she said. “In the next stage of the program, we will aim to determine how glycine-PAG neurons communicate with higher brain areas, and investigate their ability to alter pain and anxiety outcomes in chronic pain models.” “Our findings are the result of a strong collaborative effort also involving senior researcher Yo Otsu, PhD student Caitlin Fenech, and lab assistants Nazim Uddin and Rebecca Power.” The research has been published in the leading scientific journal eNeuro. The project was made possible with the support of the Ernest Heine Family Foundation and the Pain Foundation.

stay up to date with Nslhd on social media

Hornsby Hospital Mona Vale HOSPITAL nslhd mhda







Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online