The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) were proud to collaborate with the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, to present the inaugural Health Minister’s Award for Nursing Trailblazers in April 2019. The award celebrated and acknowledged the extraordinary contribution nurses make to the Australian health care system and gave much needed recognition to the leaders of our profession. Four Finalists were selected for the award, all whom are outstanding high achievers in their specialist fields and have been influential in dramatically improving the quality of health and aged care in Australia.
ACN will be running a four-part series on our NurseClick blog sharing video interviews with the four Finalists. The first video of the series features a discussion with Trailblazer Winner Nikki Johnston OAM MACN on her ‘INSPIRED’ research project which integrated specialist palliative care services into residential aged care facilities in Canberra. The project, which conducted a randomised control trial on 1,700 participants, was the first of its type in the world and filled an “urgent need to do better” when it came to the quality of care for palliative care patients.
In the video, Nikki speaks about how ‘INSPIRED’ overcame regulatory and systems barriers to fundamentally re-shape the delivering of specialist palliative care in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Prior to the project, nurses were unable to administer opioids in the ACT and palliative and residential aged care services were funded by the Federal and State Government respectively. Thanks to Nikki, nurses can now deliver opioids in the ACT and aged and palliative care services both share a state-based funding model.
Nikki believes her Trailblazer success will assist her project in gaining traction and funding to hopefully be rolled out nationwide. She is passionate about eliminating staff hierarchy in her new integrated model and highlights the importance of all staff in this new model working together to provide the best outcome of care for palliative care patients. Check out the full video for a detailed rundown of her project, the challenges she overcame and her hopes for the future.