Northern NSW local health district director of nursing, midwifery and aboriginal health Katharine Duffy in Ballina.
Northern NSW local health district director of nursing, midwifery and aboriginal health Katharine Duffy in Ballina. Marc Stapelberg

Meet the woman in charge of more than 2500 health workers

CREATING great care environments for patients and their families and staff has always given Katharine Duffy enormous satisfaction.

Since November 2017, Ms Duffy has held the position of the Northern New South Wales Local Health District's Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Aboriginal Health.

With around 2500 nursing staff and 80 Aboriginal health workers on her team, Ms Duffy said nursing is a hugely satisfying challenging role and she relishes the opportunity to help practitioners develop their skills and knowledge to provide excellent patient care.

"I have said to Wayne Jones (chief executive of the Northern New South Wales Local Health District) several times I am so happy I applied for this position," she said.

"My commitment is here and to this health district for the long haul, this job is the pinnacle of what I want to do with my career."

After a significant time with the Sydney Health District, Ms Duffy left her role as the Director of Nursing at Royal Prince Alfred.

A former registered nurse who trained at Sydney's Concord Hospital, Ms Duffy also holds a masters of Public Health Administration.

Ms Duffy said she was influenced in her career choice by her older sister who was also a nurse.

"Back then you were paid as you did your hospital training," she said.

"Becoming a nurse was one of the best decisions I ever made and I loved it."

Ms Duffy commenced her training in 1981 and said she was fortunate to have a dynamic nursing manager who was a good mentor.

"She gave me some opportunities to do some reliving in her role as a nursing unit manager, she saw some leadership capacity in me," Ms Duffy said.

"I spent a few years being a nursing unit manager and once I realised how wonderful a job is, you get to help develop staff and support them to become the best they can be."

Ms Duffy said she feels strongly about helping staff provide excellent health outcomes for the community.



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