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Southern District Health Board celebrates outstanding staff at awards night in Dunedin and Invercargill

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Southern DHB celebrated its remarkable staff from across the district at the Southern Excellence Awards on Thursday 7 November.

Held simultaneously in the Otago Polytechnic Hub in Dunedin and Bill Richardson Transport Museum in Southland, the Awards evening was established to recognise the many ways in which excellence is reflected across Southern DHB.

“This year’s nominees and winners are an exceptional group of people who have excelled in their roles and deserve to be thanked and acknowledged. This is the second year we have run the Southern Excellence Awards and it hasn’t got any easier to choose winners from among our 4,000 dedicated staff. Nominees come from across our diverse teams and include leaders, clinical staff, technicians, carers and change-makers,” says Southern DHB Chief Executive, Chris Fleming.

“The Awards are about acknowledging staff and the very important roles they play in providing care and support across the southern health system.”

Ten award categories have been established to represent the diversity in healthcare delivery and services.

The new ‘Graham Crombie Outstanding Leadership Award’ was presented to Strategy, Primary and Community Directorate’s General Manager, Glenn Symon, by Graham Crombie’s sons Michael and David.

Glenn was congratulated for his inspiring leadership and staff empowerment, overseeing system changes that have significantly improved the patient experience, for older people in particular.

“Glenn is a worthy first winner of this award named in honour of our late Deputy Commissioner Graham Crombie. Graham was an exceptional individual, leader and mentor. Glenn consistently demonstrates those same qualities,” says Mr Fleming.

Other awards included Behind the Scenes (Unsung Hero), Team of the Year, Improvements of the Year Award, Rising Star, Outstanding Care and Compassion and the Māori Health Development Award.

The winners of each category will receive a professional development grant.

Southern Excellence Awards categories and winners

‘Behind the Scenes (Unsung Hero)’

This award recognises an individual or team within corporate and support services, who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty in their day-to-day work to support the core and frontline services of the DHB.

The winner in this category is responsible for cleaning and processing the endoscopes before and after scoping procedures. During her tenure of almost twenty years, she has proved herself to be an exceptional team member and a consistent embodiment of our values. She works behind the scenes in the Endoscopy Unit, cleaning and maintaining the endoscopes as well as assisting in the Day Surgery Unit. She is committed to the job and constantly arrives early and stays late, as her patient safety (infection control) and consideration to her team come first. She is five years past retirement yet recognises the importance of Endoscopy in Southland and continues to support her team.
Her loyalty to her team, enduringly positive attitude, cheerful disposition and attention-to-detail makes her a deserving candidate for the Unsung Hero Award.

Congratulations to Marion Hape (Southland) - Health Care Assistant, Endoscopy, Perioperative.

‘Breaking Boundaries’

This award recognises an individual or team who have broken boundaries through working in partnership with primary and community providers and external stakeholder organisations.

The winners in this category have demonstrated vision and leadership by establishing a rotational nursing staff development programme for registered nurses (RN) interested in working with and caring for the elderly. Their work breaks both community hospital and intra-hospital departmental boundaries by providing tangible benefits to the nurses involved, the teams they work with, community and hospital providers, and ultimately the patients they are caring for.

Working with Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO), they have developed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Southern District Health Board in order to pilot the Older People’s Health Nursing Development Programme in two hospital level-care facilities.

Congratulations to Sally O’Connor and Emma Grant (Dunedin) – Older Person’s Health

‘Team of the Year’

This award is for a team that has demonstrated their ability to deliver clear benefits through working together effectively and efficiently. The definition of a team, in this context, is two or more members of DHB staff sharing the same goals, in either their day-to-day work or on a particular project or task.

The winners in this category have been involved in numerous initiatives over the past year and have been empowered to identify and implement new ways of working together, to help optimise the patient journey.

Their hard work and efforts have paid off with some fantastic results including length of patient stay in their ward consistently decreasing in comparison to the same time last year, more patients going home rather than into residential care, and fewer stranded patients. All of this has been achieved with 10 fewer beds.

Congratulations to 6AT&R Older Persons Health (Dunedin)

‘Graham Crombie Outstanding Leadership Award’

Presented by Graham’s sons, Michael and David Crombie. 

Paying homage to the late Deputy Commissioner Graham Crombie – an exceptional individual and leader who made a phenomenal contribution to the DHB – this award recognises an individual, team or volunteer who demonstrate outstanding leadership, including mentoring, supporting and enabling the development of people and services – inspiring and motivating others to be the best they can be.

The winner in this category has led an entire Directorate through a year of transformational change that has resulted in a significantly improved experience for older people in our system.

The change process was born out of a need to close beds in 6ATR to accommodate the ICU development. To most teams the idea of losing capacity in an already stretched system would have resulted in protest, but our winner worked with his team to ensure the changes were viewed as an opportunity to do things differently.

This proved to be a catalyst for a continued programme of change that has now become so embedded in the service that they are no longer looking to reopen the beds.

Our winner has a style and manner about him that is best described as ‘leading from the back’. He has completely empowered his teams to think laterally about change, and convinced them the destiny of the service is in their own hands.

He has exceeded what is expected by reaching out beyond his own teams into other services that can be helped with the same kind of support and encouragement.

This kind of action and shared learning has fostered increased trust amongst services, demonstrated excellent results for the system and most importantly, has improved patient experience for our population.

Congratulations to Glenn Symon (Dunedin) – General Manager, Strategy, Primary and Community.

‘Improvements of the Year’

This award recognises an individual, team or volunteer who has successfully improved health service delivery. They may have adopted an idea (used elsewhere) or implemented a new idea to improve the quality of services provided. Quality improvement is at the heart of what they do and they are always learning, sharing and seeking to enhance the services they deliver.

The winners in this category have only been in service for just over a year, and have had a significant impact on our community in this short time.

The team – comprised of of nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and rehabilitation assistants – care for patients in their own home, so they can recover in a more comfortable and familiar setting.

The team have recognised the need to work inter-professionally, with the aim to have just one car up the drive at every patient visit. 

The community patients benefit from a responsive service (within 24hrs) and 99% are seen within the day of referral, with the remainder being seen the next day.

On average they receive 167 new referrals a month and these clients may receive anything from one visit to 24, with an average of four visits.

This continuity of service has been maintained, all the while working through the challenges of establishing a new service.

They are recognised as the team in purple – congratulations The Home Team (Dunedin)

Māori Health Development’ 

This award recognises the achievements of any Southern DHB individual or team who have made a real contribution to improving the outcomes of Māori health and wellbeing.

The winners in this category developed a cultural Hui to improve cultural competency among staff and to support patients and colleagues with different backgrounds.

The Hui was created as a safe and welcoming space for all staff to discuss cultural nuances, differences and barriers, and to have an open discussion about how we can improve our cross-cultural interactions with staff and patients.

Congratulations to Witana Petley (Physiotherapist, Dunedin) and Amy Rosenfeld (Speech Language Therapist, Dunedin)

 ‘Outstanding Care and Compassion’ 

This award is for an individual or team who goes the extra mile to ensure their service is caring and compassionate, and makes a difference to the lives of patients, service users and carers.

The winner in this category has been in her role for 22 years in the Endoscopy Department. From initial contact to the completion of discharge, she provides the highest standard of care to our often vulnerable patients.

Our winner is wholeheartedly committed to ensuring patients’ comfort and safety, and she strongly advocates for those who display any signs of discomfort or distress.

Her manner of engagement is kind, approachable and encouraging, with an infectious sense of humour.

Congratulations to Christine Carroll (Southland): Registered Nurse, Day Surgery and Endoscopy.

‘Rising Star’

This award recognises the achievements of an individual who has been in their role less than two years, who goes above and beyond to help the DHB deliver its objectives and strives to exceed in all that they do. This individual will show an exceptional level of skill, initiative and commitment to their role.

The winner in this category joined the DHB in March this year. She goes the extra mile for her patients, always thinking beyond their nutritional needs and is a breath of fresh air in an environment that can often be quite challenging. She strives for best practice and has been a strong voice in the development planning of this department during a time of change. Her team would like to convey how much they appreciate and support her, and know she will go far in her field.

Congratulations to Chloe Hindle (Dunedin) – Dietitian, Dietitian Outpatients.

‘Southern Future Values Champion’

Presenter: Kathy Grant

This award is for an individual or team who have incorporated the Southern DHB values and behaviours into their everyday work environment.

The winners in this category encompass everything Southern Future. Despite always being busy - they promote and demonstrate a positive work culture everyday by being kind, open, and proactive.

They work hard and efficiently, but most importantly, they go the extra mile every day to look after the women they serve. They are truly the heart of the department and the services they provide are beyond measure.

Congratulations to Olywn Thwaites, Annette Calder and Noreen Hall (Southland) - Medical Secretaries

‘Southern Innovation Challenge’

This award is for an individual or team who are currently working on introducing a new device, method or material to improve our health services for patients and staff.

In 2016, there were a high volume of perioperative nursing and anaesthetic technician staff retiring and/or moving on for a variety of reasons. Risks of attrition compounded by a known national shortage of Anaesthetic Technicians were articulated to Executive and Senior Leadership following which Nancy Sweeney, Riea Matapo and Tania Kennedy were given approval to develop a 12 week interdisciplinary training programme for nursing and anaesthetic technicians as a ‘grow our own’ approach.

Congratulations to the Perioperative Orientation Programme (Dunedin) for NETP.