Kate Sandry named Nurse of the Year at College of Emergency Nursing’s AGM

An advocate for the mental and social wellbeing of emergency nurses and ensuring positive clinical outcomes and patient experiences. Upholding those ideals has been a major part of why one Monash Health emergency nurse last night received the Nurse of the Year award at the College of Emergency Nursing’s Annual General Meeting.

That nurse, Dandenong Hospital Emergency Department Nurse Manager Kate Sandry, didn’t even know she had been nominated for the award, so was completely surprised by the win when it was announced around 8pm.

Kate said she wasn’t expecting it at all.

“I’m honoured,” she said. “It’s a very prestige award.”

Kate has been an emergency nurse since 2007, working in both private and public emergency departments. She completed a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Nursing in 2009, and a Masters of Nursing in 2011. Since that time, Kate has held roles as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Educator, and most recently, Nurse Manager (2015 to present).

Throughout her career, Kate has demonstrated outstanding clinical and leadership qualities, continuously assessing both patient and department risk, and championing clinical guidelines to ensure all patients who present to the department have both positive clinical outcomes and positive patient experiences.

Kate has been an emergency nurse with Monash Health since the end of 2008. Gaining more skills, experience, responsibility and understanding, to take on ever more senior roles in the emergency department.

She said her interest in emergency health had changed over time.

“At the moment, my interest is in leadership,” she said. “My biggest priority is in making sure my staff get the highest level of support and the patient get the highest quality care.”

Director Clinical Operations, Emergency and General Medicine, Clayton, Jo Morey echoed those exact words when she said Kate was recognised as an exceptional leader who espouses extraordinary patient care and staff support.

“Kate has done significant research into emergency care and operationalises an area of 170 nurses and 25 staff,” she said. “She is concerned about the welfare of her patients and her staff and it shows through in the outstanding quality of everything she does.”

Kate’s recognition came on National Emergency Nurses Day, which is part of Emergency Nurses Week. Each year on October 14 the nursing community takes a day to say “thank you” to the emergency room nurses for their hard work, dedication, service and commitment to their patients and families and their loyalty to the emergency nursing profession.

Emergency nurses have played a crucial role in the response of the COVID-19 pandemic this year.

They have prepared teams of workers, many of whom consisted of members that had never set eyes on each other before the start of shifts; and worked in personal protective equipment (PPE), a situation for many that was another first, and for quite a few it caused personal injury due to lengthy periods in heavy equipment.

Emergency nurses have learnt a raft of new skills that few ever imagined would need to be introduced into Australian hospitals; and been challenged by an-ever changing environment both within the hospital and outside its departments.

The dedication and passion for their profession that emergency nurses have shown this year deserves the highest commendation.

We have all been separated from loved ones, due to quarantine and lockdown measures, but emergency department nurses have worked through the most difficult of conditions and in often trying circumstances.

A massive thank you to every person who has worked in the emergency care environment this year must be given. You have put your patients and fellow colleagues before yourself, yet at the same time must certainly have been worrying about family, friends and even strangers.

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