Ipswich nurse Shannon Wallis wins Health Minister’s Award for Nursing Trailblazers

Ipswich nurse Shannon Wallis MACN has today been announced as the winner of the Australian College of Nursing’s Health Minister’s Award for Nursing Trailblazers for her work to develop solutions to managing chronic diseases in her community.

As part of the development of the MeCare model of care, Ms Wallis developed a unique virtual nursing framework as well as an education package to onboard nurses to this new mode of working. Ms Wallis’ work included specific tips and tools for ensuring that nurses are still able to complete an environmental assessment virtually by guiding the patients in the use of their home tablet.

The MeCare platform Ms Wallis helped develop now cares for over 500 patients who suffer from one or more chronic illnesses, helping to deliver early intervention to prevent admission to hospital.

In presenting the award, Federal Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, congratulated Ms Wallis and all nurses around Australia for their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As with many things in 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic has necessitated rapid change to models of care and how health professionals deliver care,” Minister Hunt said.

“Measures such as the introduction of telehealth have been a revolution in the delivery of primary care. To 30 September 2020, more than 32.8 million telehealth services have been delivered.”

“Nurses like Ms Wallis continue to put the needs of their patients first, while creating safe, effective practices to help our whole healthcare system.”

“I congratulate Ms Wallis on her award and her work for her patients.”

In receiving the award, Ms Wallis said she was humbled to win the award.

“This highlights the wonderful work that is being done within West Moreton. The collaboration that occurs from the Executive sponsors through to the virtual care multidisciplinary teams and even our health partners and axillary staff continually work together to build a culture of continuous learning and overcoming barriers for adoption of digital health. I am blessed to be part of a wonderful team,” Ms Wallis said.

CEO of the Australian College of Nursing, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, said Ms Wallis’ work reflected the innovative and insightful ways nurses continue to advance the delivery of primary health care services.

“Shannon’s work is a prime example of how nurses will work to ensure that their communities and their patients receive the best possible care and will find new and innovative ways to support them,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

“All of our finalists should be incredibly proud of the innovations they have developed and the example they continue to set as nurse leaders.”

Adjunct Professor Ward also noted the importance of different care models in supporting patients through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Work such as Shannon’s, which can support high-risk patients in isolating and treating their conditions from home, is crucial to ensuring those with co-morbidities are not exposed to the risk of infection from COVID-19,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

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