Boggabilla Community Health nurse, Angela Morrish, has received a state honour after recently being named the Hunter New England Health 'Staff Member of the Year'.
The HNEH Excellence Awards recognise outstanding staff members and acknowledge the work they do for others, day in, day out.
According to colleagues and patients, Angela couldn't be more deserving of the award.
"I am very honoured but at the same time I feel like we all deserve the recognition," she said.
Angela started at the centre filling a six-week leave position and wanted to return. A fulltime position was later available and she has since been with the service about five years.
The clinical nurse and audiometrist joins colleagues such as GPs, RNs, dieticians and diabetic educators. They offer child and family health services, drug and alcohol, mental health and have just added podiatry.
"I call this our little hub of services," Angela said. "And we're still aiming to improve that. A big part is listening to what the community wants and needs," she said. "We're trying to bridge the gap.
"I think of us as nurse navigators. It's a holistic health care approach. We work collaboratively with all health care professionals to get a better outcome for our patients."
Dr Sarah Gleeson said advocacy played an important role. "Making sure all our patients have equity of care and doing that in a way that the community wants," she said. "We have got to know the community well and vice versa. The community feels comfortable in coming here. And we are seeing people presenting earlier because they can come where there is a familiar face. It's a privilege for us."
Patient, Shelly Binge, said the team made everyone "feel at home". "They are easy to get along with and they're good company. You've only got to ask and they'll do what they can for you. They go above and beyond. And they are very good in the community," she said.
Colleague, Leanne Cutmore, said the team had worked hard together to build the service up. "It's bigger than I think we ever expected," she said. "We've gone from a half a day GP clinic to now one-and-half. It's just much easier access for our community, especially our elders," she said. "And Angela is very deserving of the award."
Due to the Coronavirus Angela wasn't able to attend an awards evening usually hosted in Sydney. Instead she was treated to a Covid-safe morning tea at Moree on Monday where she was presented with her trophy by health service manager, David Quirk.
"It's a great job; I love it," Angela said.
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