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Bridgetown’s Helen Stuart and Michael Dewing named as finalists for WA Rural Health Excellence Awards

Daniel HockingManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Clinical Leader Award finalist and Bridgetown Hospital nurse Helen Stuart.
Camera IconClinical Leader Award finalist and Bridgetown Hospital nurse Helen Stuart. Credit: Supplied by Helen Stuart

Two Bridgetown medical professionals are “humbled and honoured” to have been shortlisted for a prestigious State-wide award for their passion and dedication to the health of the local community.

Registered nurse Helen Stuart and general practitioner Michael Dewing have been named finalists in the WA Rural Health Excellence Awards, for the Clinical Leadership Award and GP of the year Award, respectively.

Having worked as a GP for 45 years, Bridgetown Medical Group’s Dr Dewing was pleased to be recognised, but said taking care of the people in his community was the most rewarding part of his work.

“Continuity of care and looking after people for a long period of time is very rewarding, I think is the best way of describing it,” he said.

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“In our line of work, country doctors don’t like to retire.”

“We love our job and we like to keep doing it forever, much against the wishes of our families sometimes, but I would love to go on for many years.”

Bridgetown Hospital’s Mrs Stuart, who has worked as a registered nurse of 30 years, said she was humbled and honoured to be nominated, but said the credit went to her whole team.

“I feel very honoured and humbled, because the way I feel I do my job, I don’t feel like I need any accolades,” she said.

“Our whole team had a hard year last year, so it’s been for the whole team and not just me.”

She said the satisfaction she got from her work included encouraging fellow nurses to do their best and making sure patients had a smooth and stress-free experience at the hospital.

“For the patients that come here, I try to make their day a little bit better,” she said.

“Try and help them navigate through their health system, which is hard and stressful for a lot of people, so I get a lot of satisfaction out of making it easier for them and helping them.”

“I’m really proud of the service we’ve got in Bridgetown and I’m proud to be a leader of that and we’ll continue to provide services that the community find beneficial and at a high standard.”

Other South West finalists include South West Aboriginal Medical Service’s nurse practitioner and midwife, Jemima Higgins, who has been shortlisted for the nurse/midwife of the year and Bunbury’s Dr Lucy Irvine and Dr Shelley Dos Santos, who were nominated for Intern of the year and resident medical officer of the year, respectively.

The Rural Clinical School of WA and WA Country Health Service’s clinical researcher, Associate Professor Bronwyn Peirce, was shortlisted for the rural researcher or educator of the year award

Boyup Brook’s Paige Weaver was also shortlisted for the rising star award.

Rural Health West chief executive Tim Shackleton said this year’s nominations highlighted the incredible calibre of health professionals working in country WA.

“We are extremely proud to celebrate all of the health professionals nominated this year for their commitment, dedication and passion,” he said.

The winners of the awards will be announced in March.

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