This award recognises a First Nations Registered Nurse or Midwife, Enrolled Nurse or Assistant-in-Nursing (however titled) who, through demonstrating one or more of the six Positive Practice Environment Standards, has contributed positively to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery professions or health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. 
The QNMU’s First Nations Branch undertakes important work to advance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery outcomes, and we are proud to further our commitment to supporting our First Nations members with this award. 
The QNMU First Nations Branch was proud to name this award in acknowledgement of the hard work and contributions of two well respected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, who have made lifelong commitments to advancing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 
About Aunty Dulcie Flower 
Aunty Dulcie Flower is a Torres Strait Islander nurse from Cairns. She is a long-standing activist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, and well known for championing the 1967 referendum, land rights and mining permissions. She was a founding member of the Aboriginal Medical Service in Sydney nearly 50 years ago. Aunty Dulcie received an Order of Australia Medal in 1992 for the above accomplishments. 
About (Professor) Aunty Gracelyn Smallwood 
Aunty Gracelyn Smallwood is an Aboriginal nurse from Townsville. She has been a strong activist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights since the late 1960s. She was a founding member of Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service over 40 years ago. Aunty Gracelyn has been a long-term QNMU member and contributor to the union movement. 

Click here to read the full Positive Practice Environment Standards

Entrants or nominees must respond to the following questions:

  • Address at least one of the six Positive Practice Environment Standards, clearly specifying the standard you are addressing and providing evidence of how they were demonstrated and embedded by you in your workplace or community (max. 250 words)
  • Address how your work positively contributes to First Nations nursing, midwifery or health outcomes (max. 250 words)
  • Describe how you have demonstrated QNMU activism in your workplace (max. 250 words).

Entry requisites for this award:

  • Must identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Must not have previously won this award
  • Must be a current financial QNMU member and membership must have been held for minimum 12 months prior to application
  • Cannot be an employed QNMU staff member or Councillor in the previous 12 months prior to date applications open 
  • Cannot be a first-degree relative of a QNMU staff member or Councillor 
  • Finalists must commit to attending the QNMU Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards ceremony in Brisbane on Thursday 25th July 2024 (funded by QNMU)
  • Finalists must commit to participating in QNMU marketing or communications for the Awards eg photo shoots, testimonials etc
  • Winners must commit to providing written feedback to the QNMU council within three months of receiving their prize on how it was spent towards professional or personal development.

Example:  2022 Winner, Jeremy James Rigney

PPES chosen:  Standard 1 = Safe staffing levels, Standard 2 = Physical, psychological, and cultural safety, Standard 3 = Autonomous and collaborative practice 

Jeremy is a Registered Nurse at the Cairns Hospital. He is a proud Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal man from South Australia who has passion for equal opportunities, cultural safety, and family. Jeremy has worked in the Cairns ED for eight years, where he assists staff and patients in all levels of safety, particularly Cultural Safety.

Jeremy has been an active member of the Cultural Safety Reference Group in his department, and recently submitted changes to their Terms of Reference to highlight the need for First Nations leadership in nursing. As part of this group, he has rolled out in-services in this space as well as supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in an unofficial leadership role. As an Aboriginal man, Jeremy feels the responsibility to fulfill this role despite having faced some adversity and strives to make steps forward for First Nations nurses to receive recognition.

As a senior member of the ED, Jeremy regularly offers education to staff for a variety of reasons, including rollouts of the research projects such as the First Nations Coronary Artery Disease study.

As someone who is keenly interested in and participates in research, particularly First Nations research, Jeremy is proud to deliver new changes to the workforce, as well as advocating and assisting with applications for finance to further the First Nations research in Cairns.

Winning prize: $5,000*

*To be put towards further professional and/or personal development for the winner. 

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