An ACT nurse dedicated to giving people more dignity and choice in their final days was last night named the inaugural Health Minister’s Nursing Trailblazer at an awards ceremony in Sydney.

Lord Nigel Crisp, Co-Chair Nursing Now, and Australian College of Nursing President, Professor Christine Duffield FACN presented the inaugural Health Minister’s Nursing Trailblazer Award to Nikki Johnston OAM MACN, a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner based in Canberra at Calvary Health Care’s Clare Holland House.

“Congratulations to Nikki on being selected as this year’s Nursing Trailblazer for her work in improving the delivery of palliative care to Australians living in residential aged care,” Australian College of Nursing CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.

“The ‘INSPIRED’ project for which she was nominated gives incredible insight into the work and impact that health professionals, particularly nurses, have on patients and residents every day, especially in the later stages of their life.”

Nikki’s ‘INSPIRED: Integrating specialist palliative care into residential care for older people’ program integrates specialist palliative care into residential aged care facilities providing better pain management during end of life care and supporting older Australians to die in their preferred place.

“This Award is about recognising nurses who are leading the way, who are able to influence policy and models of care that can be implemented nationally. Nurses are patient advocates who are instrumental to the promotion, prevention and treatment of health care to patients and communities,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

“All four finalists in this year’s Awards are exceptional nurse leaders changing the face of health care in this country.

“We look forward to what each of them achieve as they move forward with their work.

“The impressive number of nominations received this year demonstrate how many nurses there are around the country undertaking cutting edge research and implementing innovative changes to clinical practice. I encourage all of the nursing ‘trailblazers’ out there to put themselves forward next year and let us know about their inspiring projects.”

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