RECOGNITION: Geraldine Heckel, Northern NSW Health District after hours nurse manager, has been awarded the inaugural Meryl Brown memorial award in nursing and midwifery management.
RECOGNITION: Geraldine Heckel, Northern NSW Health District after hours nurse manager, has been awarded the inaugural Meryl Brown memorial award in nursing and midwifery management. Cathy Adams

Lismore nurse wins award

GERRI Heckel says nursing gives her "spiritual rewards", but after a career spanning 20 years at Lismore Base Hospital, she has been formally acknowledged with an award for her outstanding achievement in nursing/midwifery management.

This is the first time the Local Health District has had awards for nurses; with one award for management and another for clinical

excellence.

Gerri was the recipient of the Meryl Brown Memorial Award, named after a former executive director of nursing at Ballina hospital.

"Nursing hasn't changed that much. It's challenging at times, but people stay because they feel it is meaningful and you do get lots of rewards; spiritual rewards," she said.

After completing a degree at the University of New Eng- land, Gerri started work at LBH as the night nurse manager and is now responsible for overseeing several teams.

She has also completed a Masters in Health Administration and said she has always loved working in Lismore.

"The people here are top notch. Through my studies I've met people from other parts of the country and the world and I didn't ever find reason to leave. I love my job and I haven't put a deadline on when I'll complete my career," she said.

As part of the prize Gerri will receive a $1000 educational scholarship, but said she hasn't decided how she will spend it.

The executive director of nursing and midwifery for the Northern Rivers region, Annette Symes said Gerri was nominated by her peers and chosen by a panel of health professionals and a community representative.

"Gerri is considered by her peers to be someone who goes the extra mile, but does it quietly," Mrs Symes said.

"Her nomination was due to her knowledge base, professional attitude, her management during times of pressure and her commitment to caring."

The winner of the Jane Ackerman award for clinical excellence was Helen Lennon from Grafton Base Hospital.



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