The extraordinary work of our nurses and midwives to improve health outcomes during the pandemic is undeniable. And one nurse’s contribution has been recognised by the 2022 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards as a finalist for Nurse of the Year.
Karen Bellamy, who works at Monash Medical Centre, Clayton has been listed as a finalist for this key industry award for her leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Karen Bellamy works as a Nurse Practitioner in the field of specialist immunisation, including the important area of research. With over 25 years of nursing experience, she is currently the only Immunisation Nurse Practitioner in Australia that practices across the whole lifespan. Karen has previously lent her experience as a midwife and a maternal & child health nurse, and has a keen interest in travel medicine.
Karen invests her time and knowledge as a key member of advisory and working groups at a national, state and local level. These include:
- Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI)
- ATAGI COVID-19 Working Group
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group
- Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) specialist advisor on COVID-19, Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG), and
- Monash Health COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Committee
What makes Karen exceptional is her ability to adapt, respond and rise to every challenge, plus her incredible work ethic. She has a passion for immunisation and with empathy borne from lived experience, provides exceptional care to her community.
Katrina Nankervis, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer at Monash Health commented that “Karen’s dedication and achievements can’t be overstated, and her consideration for the HESTA Nurse of the Year is well deserved recognition. As colleagues, patients and the broader community, we’re fortunate to benefit from Karen’s leadership and compassion. I’m proud that she is being recognised and also that Monash Health employees have such a strong track record in this prestigious award.”
The COVID-19 vaccine roll-out highlighted the challenges that the disability sector face in accessing healthcare. It quickly became clear that a simplified pathway was needed for our teenage population, who as well as needing COVID-19 vaccination, had often missed routine adolescent immunisations.
Karen developed a new sedation clinic protocol in conjunction with one of Monash Health’s specialist anaesthetists. This pathway was a new option for many vulnerable families and has so far achieved a 100% vaccination success rate with this population, to overwhelmingly positive feedback and gratitude from families.
A further example of Karen’s contribution relates to the smaller CALD communities, of South Sudanese, Burmese and Afghan populations, who were seeking community online forums. With the assistance of interpreters, Karen hosted informative and reassuring sessions via a Q&A format. No matter what was asked of Karen or what time pressures were present, she was always obliging and well prepared, ensuring that every member of our diverse community could access immunisation services.
About the HESTA Awards
The winners of the HESTA Awards will be announced on 19 May 2022 at an Awards ceremony in Melbourne, subject to COVID-19 safety restrictions.
For 16 years the HESTAs have paid tribute to the outstanding contribution Australia’s nurses, midwives, nurse educators, researchers and personal care workers make to improving health outcomes.
An independent judging panel, comprised of sector representatives, reviewed many outstanding nominations to select finalists across the Nurse of the Year, Midwife of the Year and Outstanding Organisation categories.
You can read more about the HESTA awards and finalists here.