The Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) Exceptional People Awards were created to identify and celebrate the staff who live the true meaning of our CORE Values and Behaviours Charter, those who go over and above to make a difference for the benefit of their colleagues, patients and consumers.

The Northern Sydney Local Health District Exceptional People Awards are just one way in which we can formally recognise and thank our staff for the incredible work they do every day.

It is through the talents and efforts of our employees that we deliver our vision of being Leaders in healthcare, partners in wellbeing.

There are six categories for the awards based on both our CORE Values and the five themes in the NSLHD Strategic Plan 2017-2022. The categories are:

  • Healthy Communities,
  • Connected Person-Centred Care,
  • Evidence-Based Decision Making,
  • Responsive and Adaptable Organisation,
  • Engaged and Empowered Workforce,
  • and CORE Values (Collaboration, Openness, Respect and Empowerment) 


The winners of the Exceptional People Awards 2017 are:

CORE Values & Behaviours category


Carol May, Team Leader Administration, RNSH 

As team leader, Carol May creates and maintains a positive work environment for every member of the large Divisions Administrative team. She is always totally supportive of staff and very caring in her interactions and somehow, amid the challenges of juggling competing administrative demands, always has a kind word and a smile for those she encounters.

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Mary Koleth, Pathology North, RNSH

​Mary Koleth shines, that's the only word for it. She is patient, open and accommodating, and her outstanding knowledge, devoted work ethic and endless generosity with time and expertise has earned her the respect of colleagues and clinicians alike. Topping it off is the fact that she is nothing less than extraordinary in the accuracy of the work she produces.

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Engaged & Empowered Workforce category


Jeanette Carey, Pharmacy Manager, Ryde Hospital 

As head of Ryde Hospital’s high-performing pharmacy department, Jeanette expertly balances the needs of patients and staff and of the business overall. Over the past two years she has embedded a culture of excellence in patient care, leading by example: every day she demonstrates the CORE values to the highest level.

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Patricia Tierney, Child Protection Educator, Northern Sydney Child Protection Services

Pat Tierney's expertise as an educator and her determination to ensure that at-risk children receive the best protection possible mean that she is held in the highest esteem by all who work with her, and more members of our workforce are competent in identifying children at risk and responding to concerns than ever before as a result of her efforts.


Evidence-Based Decision Making  category


Sheila Jala, Stroke Clinical Nurse Consultant, RNSH Stroke Unit

Leadership, respect for all, and continuous striving for better patient outcomes are Sheila Jala's hallmarks. She is engaging and collaborative, providing training and education far beyond her own unit, and her tireless commitment to evidence-based improvements in stroke care inspires all those around her.

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Matthew Tinker, Clinical Nurse Consultant, RNSH ICU 

Respectful, collaborative and innovative, and a treasure-trove of professional knowledge and advice, Matt Tinker provides model care for patients and their families during extremely difficult times, at the same time empowering his colleagues to follow his lead in thinking creatively and inclusively. In every situation, no matter how difficult, he sees an opportunity to reflect on current practices.

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RNSH Tracheostomy team

By thinking creatively and collaboratively, the multi-disciplinary Tracheostomy Team has brought about significant evidence-based improvements for some very vulnerable patients. The many initiatives they have introduced since forming in 2016 have seen skills increase and responses improve across the LHD, leading to better outcomes for patients and significant savings in annual bed days.

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Responsive & Adaptable Organisation category


Vinh San To, Performance Analyst (Planning), RNSH

San To is highly skilled at analysing data, but that doesn't begin to describe the difference he makes. His work is all about listening to what others need and coming up with innovative solutions that make everyone else's work easier, and he does it brilliantly.

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Compulsory Joint Education team, Mona Vale Hospital

It took sustained hard work by the entire Compulsory Joint Education Session Team to bring to fruition a new project ensuring that puts patients first and ensures their surgical journeys are active collaborations with expert teams. The impressive results of that dedicated team effort are making a difference in patients’ lives every day.

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Connected Person-Centred Care category


Elizabeth O’Brien, Clinical Nurse Practitioner, Stroke Service TIA Clinic, Neurology, RNSH

To her patients and their families, Liz O'Brien is a life-changer. To nurses she's a role model who provides invaluable training, guidance and inspiration. And to the doctors and allied health staff who work with her she is a respected treatment partner who provides wise counsel. She truly exemplifies our CORE values.

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RNSH Neurosurgery nurses team: Georgie Farrar, Maria Widschwendter and Jacquie Endicott

The nomination from German patient Arne Schiereck for the winners in this category shows how much difference nursing care makes to patients, especially in this case, when they were caring for someone dealing with very significant injury half a world away from his home and family.

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Healthy Communities category 


Mary ‘Molly’ Florance, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Chronic Care Co-ordinator, Aboriginal Health Service

The qualities that make Molly Florance so effective in her role as Aboriginal Health Service Chronic Care Co-ordinator are the same ones that make her so well-loved by both clients and team-mates. She is open, respectful and genuinely interested; she thinks holistically; and she goes above and beyond to make sure vulnerable people don't fall between the cracks.

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Sue Kurrle, Clinical Director Rehabilitation and Aged Care, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital  

Professor Sue Kurrle’s work makes an enormous difference, to individual patients, to the wider community and to all the colleagues fortunate enough to experience the supportive, collaborative,  innovative, ethical workplace fostered by her leadership.

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Coral Tree Family Service, Mental Health Drug & Alcohol 

By the time families reach Coral Tree Family Service, they often feel they have nowhere left to turn and no hope things will ever get better. But by working collaboratively with families, the cohesive, dedicated and expert Coral Tree team consistently achieves amazing outcomes, opening the door to futures these children and parents never thought possible.

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The 2017 Exceptional People Awards were proudly sponsored by First State Super and videography use throughout the event was sponsored by Tell Agency.