Mary Potter Day 2020

Celebrating and recognising achievements of our staff was carried out a little differently this year due to COVID-19. However, we were able to congratulate three exceptional staff members who were nominated by their peers for the Mary Potter Award.

The purpose of the Mary Potter Award is to recognise staff members of Calvary Mater Newcastle who demonstrate sustained excellence and exceptional commitment to their role above and beyond what is required, exemplifying the values of Hospitality, Healing, Stewardship and Respect.

The 2020 Mary Potter Award recipient was Cheryl Cooley, Nurse Manager, Surgery

During her time at Calvary Mater Newcastle Cheryl has held a variety of roles, including registered nurse, stomal therapist, Nurse Unit Manager and Acting Director for Critical Care and Surgery. Cheryl constantly reflects on the patient’s experience as she is heavily invested in quality improvement for both patients and the services we provide. As a result, she has been a key component to the success of many projects and changes across the hospital which have led to significant improvements in the delivery of safe personalised care for our patient community.

“Through my tears on acceptance of the award I said two heartfelt things, firstly, I love this hospital and secondly, I love my job!”

Some of these improvements include: the restructure of the melanoma and surgical outpatients services including the transformation of key procedural spaces and the patient services area resulting in significantly improved waiting times and the overall patient experience. Her leadership of the Essentials of Care project across the hospital has given her the opportunity to develop strong links with the Hunter New England Essentials of Care executive team and the Calvary Mater Newcastle nursing management group as they have worked together to complete the project essentials.

Another key priority of Cheryl’s is her strong commitment to mentoring junior staff. New graduate nursing staff, junior medical officers, new graduates, and allied health staff are all supported through her leadership, her generosity of time and availability, and her extensive experience, skills and knowledge.

Of her win, Cheryl said, “I am very honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Mary Potter Award. To be nominated was indeed humbling, there was some stiff competition with nominees Sophia Wooldridge and Casey Hutchinson.

“I am proud to lead a fantastic team and I thank them for the effort they put in every day to provide great care to our patients and promote positive culture change. I am also fortunate to collaborate with teams within surgical services, and other services in our facility.

“I feel privileged in receiving this recognition.”

Congratulations to our other nominees

Casey Hutchinson, Clinical Nurse Educator, Haematology. Casey is a dynamic, innovative and effective educator who works tirelessly to improve clinical practice. Thanks to Casey’s varied initiatives, the patients in our care ultimately benefit because our systems are better and more efficient, and nurses feel more confident in their skills. She is a sustainability champion in the hospital and a key driver of the PVC recycling team who recently were a finalist in the 2020 Hunter New England Health Excellence Awards.

Sophia Wooldridge, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Psycho-Oncology Service. This service provides support and counselling to oncology outpatients and their families. Sophia is highly regarded for her ability to connect with patients of various backgrounds in an authentic, helpful and collaborative manner. She is an excellent communicator who invests time and energy into her professional relationships with patients and fellow staff members. Sophia uses innovative ways to engage staff and always represents the Psycho–Oncology Service and the Mater with utmost professionalism.

Time to Reflect

The Mary Potter Day Chapel Service this year invited us to reflect on the rich heritage of the last 135 years when the first Sisters of the Little Company of Mary arrived in Australia. This year has been an extraordinary year in health care where we, like those first Sisters, were confronted with a health crisis that demanded all our resources and skill to ensure the community stayed safe and those who became ill were cared for with compassion.

During the service we acknowledged the commitment of health care staff globally and reflected on the experience of our patients through the telling of their stories. The lighting of candles from the Mary Potter candle reminded us that it is each one of us who is a shining light in the dark places of the lives of those for whom we care.

COVID-19 may have put a stop to socialising in large numbers, including our yearly Mary Potter Day BBQ lunch, however the hard work and dedication provided by our staff throughout the year was not forgotten. Delicious cakes and biscuits, once again baked by the amazing Bobbie Hudson, and packaged up by various staff, including Kyle Valentine and Matty Clift, from Medirest. These were distributed to all corners of the hospital as a thank you for all that you do.