Indigenous midwife among 2022 Nursing and Midwifery Award Winners
NSW midwife Melanie Briggs was among the winners of the 2022 HESTA Australian Nursing and Midwifery Awards, which were announced last week.
The Awards celebrate the critical contributions of our country’s nurses and midwives, and highlight the incredible work of individuals and organisations working in this space.
Briggs, a descendant of Dharawal and Gumbaynggir peoples, won the award for her work in improving First Nations’ maternal and infant health. She is the director and founder of Binjilaanii, the first Aboriginal-led maternity model of care in Australia.
Briggs said she was honoured to hear she had been named Midwife of the Year.
“Being recognised and being an Aboriginal midwife and caring for women on country is a privilege and I feel incredibly proud,” she said.
“My team should be here standing here with me. This award is in recognition of the amazing work our team and organisation do in community to ensure that our First Nations mums and bubs receive the best start to life.”
Other winners of the award include Queensland Nurse Practitioner Sue Hegarty and Beaudesert Hospital Maternity.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey congratulated this year’s winners and finalists, acknowledging the extraordinary impact they have had in delivering improved health outcomes and care for Australians.
“This year’s winners and finalists have demonstrated the very best of their profession: compassion, empathy and dedication to helping improve the lives of others,” Blakey said.
“No matter the hour, no matter the situation, our nurses and midwives are there to answer the call. They have made an immeasurable difference to the health and wellbeing of so many people and it’s so clear why they are the backbone of our healthcare system.
Winners of this year’s awards each received a $10,000 prize, courtesy of ME Bank.
Briggs said she planned to use the prize money to conduct further research and embed cultural practices into the Birthing on Country model of care.
“Practicing culture and working with First Nations mothers and supporting women on that journey during pregnancy is so important for us; it is empowering for our women as it brings incredible outcomes – seeing that is the most rewarding part of my job”, she said.