NSLHD News 24 November 2023


Main story RNSH pathologist wins top cancer prize Pathologist and researcher, Professor Anthony Gill AM, has been honoured with the top prize at the NSW Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research. Page 4 Short blurb Read more on Page x

Perioperative nurses celebrated at RNSH Page 6

nurse named Australia’s leading critical care researcher Page 5


Message from the chief executive

Adjunct Professor Anthony M. Schembri AM

After a three-year hiatus, the forum provided an avenue for nurses and midwives to showcase and share the activities, initiatives, and strategies that they have been working on. Our district is doing incredible work in this space. Saturday 25 November marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence which will run until 10 December. This period encourages action and education to seek an end to violence against women and girls in our society. The NSLHD Prevention and Response to Violence, Abuse and Neglect (PARVAN) Service are hosting a series of webinars and on-site information stalls. I encourage all staff to attend these events and take up this opportunity to strengthen your existing skills, knowledge, and practice. It was wonderful to see so many events being held across the district for Gathering of Kindness Week. This important week allowed us to reflect on kindness within the workplace and I’m very proud to work in a district that has so many acts of kindness being carried out every day. It is also an important reminder to look after each other as we head towards the end of the year. Adjunct Professor Anthony M. Schembri AM Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District

Over the past couple of weeks staff members from across the district have received some incredibly impressive awards and accolades that I would like to acknowledge. Royal North Shore Hospital senior staff specialist in Anatomical Pathology Professor Anthony Gill was named the recipient of the top prize at the NSW Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research. Royal North Shore Hospital nurse Gillian Prott was named the recipient of the colleague nominated Healing Heart Award at the NSW Health Nursing and Midwifery Awards. Professor Georgina Long AO from Royal North Shore Hospital was named a joint recipient of the NSW Australian of Year Award for her ongoing contributions to cancer research. These achievements are phenomenal, and I would like to extend a huge congratulations to these staff members and their colleagues. Our Annual Public Meeting is fast approaching on 8 December and this year’s theme is Planetary Health. This is a great opportunity for staff and the community to find out more about our planetary health initiatives across the district, how we are tracking towards net zero and listen to a panel discussion. I’d encourage everyone to come along either in person or via MS Teams on December 8 at 1:30pm.

To join online on the day, please visit this link: https://bit.ly/NSLHD-APM-2023.

I was honoured to recently open the NSLHD Nursing and Midwifery Directorate person- centred care showcase.



Staff at the RNSH NICU celebrating the day

RNSH NICU celebrates World Prematurity Day The RNSH neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) recently came together to celebrate World Prematurity Day. The important day acknowledges the 15 million babies born prematurely each year globally. The NICU recognised this day by wearing purple. Each family were given cards to recognise the day with its babies’ footprints marked on them and a teddy bear from Miracle Babies. Staff also wore head wear as part of the days celebration activities. Some families even baked goodies for the team and an afternoon tea was enjoyed by staff to celebrate the day.

NICU staff wore head wear on the day



Professor Anthony Gill with fellow award recipients

RNSH pathologist wins top cancer prize World-renowned pathologist and researcher,

In 2010, he founded the Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology group, which focuses on cancer diagnosis and subclassifying them based on tissue biopsies. “It’s nice to get some recognition for the group in this field,” he said. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised Anthony for his pivotal role in describing a new class of cancers known as ‘succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) deficient’ mutations. His team has also worked on big-scale research projects, including the Australian Pancreatic Genome Initiative. For the past six years, the busy pathologist has also been involved with standardising the criteria for different cancers with the WHO.

Professor Anthony Gill AM, was recently honoured with the top prize at the NSW Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research. Anthony, a senior staff specialist in anatomical pathology at Royal North Shore Hospital and a Professor of Surgical Pathology at The University of Sydney, was named Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year. While he was happy to be recognised, he emphasised the collaborative nature of his achievements. “We have a group of between five and 10 dedicated scientists and pathologists, and

we all work together on a lot of these research projects in collaboration with many other doctors and scientists in the hospital,” he said. “Pathology is a bit in the back rooms of medicine and people really don’t know what we do. Most cancers are still diagnosed by pathologists looking at glass slides under the microscope,” he said. “It’s an approach that hasn’t changed for 150 years — it’s still taking a very thin section of a tumour, treating it in the lab, and then looking at it under the microscope.” Anthony has worked at RNSH since 1997 and was recognised for his track record on a range of projects.

Professor Anthony Gill and members of the cancer diagnosis and pathology research group



nurse named Australia’s leading critical care researcher Dr Naomi Hammond has been named

use critical care fluids and what types. Passionate about sepsis research, Naomi has also been immersed in a long-term study, which found significant long-term burdens for survivors of this severe infection. It has led her to establish a dedicated follow- up clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital for sepsis survivors, and other critically ill patients and their families. Naomi wears a lot of hats — she is the intensive care clinical research manager at the RNSH, the head of the critical care program at the George Institute for Global Health and conjoint associate professor at UNSW’s faculty of medicine. How does she find the time? “I think with critical care we’re used to doing everything immediately, so we just get on with it,” she said.

Australia’s leading critical care researcher in The Australian’s 2024 Research magazine. Naomi was recently recognised in the national publication for her extensive and collaborative research into intravenous fluids. The registered nurse, holding a doctorate and two Masters, feels particularly humbled by her recognition in critical care — a traditionally medically dominated field. “I think this recognition for me as a nurse actually just goes to show the collaborative nature of critical care,” she said. Naomi has been working with the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society clinical trials group, a collegial and multi- disciplinary community, since 2004. After discovering that intravenous fluids have different outcomes for different patients, the group has globally influenced how clinicians

Dr Naomi Hammond



Perioperative Nurses Week celebrations at RNSH

Perioperative nurses celebrated at RNSH Perioperative nurses recently came together at RNSH to celebrate Perioperative Nurses Week.

“It is always fantastic to be able to shine a light on groups of specialised nurses and the incredible work they do,” she said. “Perioperative Nurses Week raises awareness of the work these staff undertake, their role in patient safety and clinical outcomes as well as patient experience. Our perioperative nurses are some of the most highly skilled nurses in our workforce and their work deserves this recognition. “I’d like to thank all of our perioperative nurses for their work in maintaining patient safety, delivering high-quality care, and continuously pushing the boundaries of excellence in surgical nursing. “Our surgical services could not run without the skill and expertise you carry out your work with, and we all congratulate you on the excellence you exemplify.”

The week takes place each year to acknowledge and celebrate the work

perioperative nurses do to ensure patients are given a high standard before, during, and after surgical procedures. A number of activities took place across the hospital to celebrate the week including a bake-off competition, name- on-hat competition, theatre hat swaps and baby photo guessing competition. These competitions allow for great connectivity between units and highlight the positive workplace culture that our perioperative nurses share with other healthcare professionals. Perioperative nurses have highly complex

roles. They are a critical part of the surgical team involved in a range of major and minor surgeries including major trauma, severe burns, spinal cord injuries, heart surgery, emergency deliveries, kidney transplantation, neurosurgery, and interventional neuroradiology. NSLHD Director of Nursing and Midwifery Claire Harris thanked perioperative nurses across the district for their constant contributions to patient care.

The bake-off competition in full swing



From patient care to research Inspired by her nursing experience at Royal North Shore Hospital, Julia Pilowsky pursued a full-time PhD at The University of Technology Sydney focusing on the impact of mental health disorders on ICU patients. After discovering there was little local or international academic research in this area—and with the support of a mentor—she delved into this unexplored territory. “It’s always about improving patient care,” she said. “Using your critical eye is the best way to find projects that might be useful and relevant to explore in the future.”

$9 million in extra funding to investigate a range of clinical areas. “This is huge,” he said. Eamon said there are all sorts of pathways that clinicians undertake to do research ¬— some do doctorates while others do research in their own time without funding. But ultimately, the work they do makes an enormous difference. “The majority of research that happens is clinician-led and it is done for better clinical outcomes and patient experience,” he said.

Julia’s journey from ICU clinician to researcher was one of five highlighted at a recent NSLHD/UTS Research Showcase event held at Royal North Shore Hospital. Associate Professor Eamon Merrick said the showcase aimed to encourage clinicians to delve deeper. “If they can see an issue or have a burning clinical question they want to answer, they can take their own initiative and do research.” He said nurses and midwives are currently involved in 71 active research studies across the district. Since 2018, they have secured

Attendees at the NSLHD and UTS research showcase

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Attendees were all smiles at the showcase

Person-centred care in the spotlight The NSLHD Nursing and Midwifery Directorate hosted a one-day forum to discuss person- centred care activities, initiatives, and strategies.

collaborative relationship between healthcare providers and recipients. Speakers at the event included Transitional Nurse Practitioner Katie Kelleway and her patient Brett Mace, who was in the Royal North Shore Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for 147 days in 2023. Katie discussed the nurse practitioner case management program and the benefits it had for Brett. Meanwhile, he spoke about his experience of being in the ICU and how the service achieved person-centred outcomes.

NSLHD Chief Executive Anthony Schembri opened the event, which had been on a three- year hiatus due to the pandemic. The day was an opportunity for nurses and midwives to showcase and share their work, which included innovations in providing safe, high-quality care and partnering with patients. At its core, person-centred care is about empowering individuals and fostering a

Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week NSLHD recently took part in World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week

and the theme for 2023 is ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’. The week aims to raise awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance and the role clinicians can play in keeping patients and the community safe. As part of the week, the Infectious Diseases and Microbiology team presented in the final NSLHD Grand Rounds for 2023 to highlight the importance of antimicrobial resistance. There was a stall at RNSH in the foyer to raise awareness as well as a staff member quiz.

The Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week stall at RNSH



Gathering of Kindness celebrations at Macquarie Hospital

Gathering of Kindness celebrations at Ryde Hospital

Gathering of Kindness celebrations at Hornsby Hospital

Gathering of Kindness Celebrations of kindness were recently held across the district to celebrate NSW Health’s Gathering of Kindness. NSW Health’s Gathering of Kindness is celebrated annually during November, using World Kindness Day to continue a conversation about kindness and compassion in healthcare. A variety of events and initiatives were held across the week with a focus on fostering and spreading kindness across the organisation to elevate the human experience for all. The district also launched Kindness Kits during the week, which contained items and information packs that help staff members reduce stress and manage anxiety in the workplace.

NSLHD Consumer and Patient Experience Manager Dr Thelma De Lisser-Howarth said the week allowed staff to celebrate each other and acts of kindness across the district. “Staff across the sites were so engaged and keen to ensure they held events to celebrate their collegiality, compassion, and appreciation of each other,” she said. “This was quite evident in the Tales of Kindness portal that was promoted across the district,” “Our goal was to capture 160 messages to celebrate the impact kindness can have on our staff and NSLHD received 167 kindness messages over the week across all services, which was a great achievement.”

Gathering of Kindness celebrations at Mona Vale Hospital

Gathering of Kindness celebrations at Royal North Shore Hospital



Dr David Chan

Dr Nick Pavlakis

NSLHD cancer experts inform national guidelines Expert clinician researchers from NSLHD have had a key role in the development of new national guidelines for the treatment of neuroendocrine tumours. The COSA NET guidelines provide

“We are confident the new guidelines will provide tremendously valuable, evidenced- based information in a format which is easy to access and adopt,” he said. In recent years, Sydney Theranostics North – based at RNSH was named a Neuroendocrine Tumour Centre of Excellence, one of just three centres in the southern hemisphere. Dr Chan said the accreditation is a testament to the exceptional team of clinicians, surgeons, nurses, allied health professionals and researchers at RNSH. “It’s a credit to a very large number of teams, from medical oncology, radiology and surgery to genetics, palliative care and nutrition,” he said. “It means patients can have confidence they are receiving the very best care in the world, and their treatment will be in line with the latest international advances.” To access the new guidelines for the treatment of neuroendocrine tumours: https://app.magicapp.org/#/guideline/7724

information for oncologists, health care providers and patients regarding the latest evidence-informed practice. The new recommendations replace the previous ones drafted more than 10 years ago and reflect the significant advances in neuroendocrine tumour treatment over that time. New information has now been produced about Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia 1, familial NET syndromes and information about supportive care. The guidelines have been developed by Australia’s leading clinical and academic experts, including NSLHD clinicians Drs Nick Pavlakis, Jas Samra, Rory Clifton-Bligh, David Chan and Richie Maher. Dr Pavlakis said the team contributed to the new guidelines by drawing on its expertise in nuclear medicine, systemic therapies, surgery, interventional radiology and clinical trial experience.

SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS Share your news and achievements. Contact the Media and Communications team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



Gastroenterology nurse wins award Royal North Shore Hospital gastroenterology nurse Gillian Prott has been named winner of the Healing Heart (Colleague Nominated) Award in the 2023 NSW Health Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards.

rewarding part for me,” said Gillian, adding the recognition has inspired her in her work. “I think this has spurred me on now to try and be even better.” Gillian was nominated by Dr Allison Malcolm.

Gillian was one of 29 finalists across nine categories honoured at an awards ceremony at NSW Parliament and online on 16 November. She said winning the award has been “overwhelming and exciting”. “I strive to be as good as I can and provide the best care I can to patients and keep up to date. But knowing that I’ve helped so many people along the way I think that’s the most

The pair has collaborated at RNSH’s gastroenterology unit for 22 years.

Dr Malcolm paid tribute to her colleague. “Gillian is an outstanding gastroenterology nurse specialising in pelvic floor disorders. She has been instrumental in setting up what is one of the best units for the management of pelvic floor disorders in the world.”

NSW Health Nursing Midwifery Awards 2023 Healing Heart Colleague winner Gillian Prott with NSW Health Deputy Secretary Phil Minns



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