STAR Quarterly Award winners honoured

Recipients of Monash Health’s first STAR Quarterly Awards of the year were honoured yesterday at a presentation which formed part of the Senior Leadership Team meeting. CEO Andrew Stripp shared inspiring stories of how the award winners are pursuing excellence in their work, and congratulated the people behind the stories, who provide extraordinary care and compassion to our patients and each other.

The STAR Quarterly Awards form a key part of Monash Health’s Strategic Plan 2018-2023. The categories and award winners were as follows:

Outstanding Care or Service Delivery

STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Elizabeth Leahy – Manager, Allergy Day Unit

  • Nominated by Sara Barnes


Excellent Experiences

STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Anna Sloan – People & Culture Business Partner

  • Nominated by Amanda Nim and Allison McPherson


Exceptional Teamwork

 STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Allergy Day Unit

  • Nominated by Sarah Barnes


Excellence in Research, Teaching and Innovation

STAR Quarterly Award Winner:Edward Zimbudzi – Nurse Manager, Adult Haemodialysis

  • Nominated by Afsana Khan


Improving Care and Access

STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Tracey Stephens –  Aboriginal Health Midwife

  • Nominated by Isabelle Howard


Managing Wisely

STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Elizabeth Fulco – Nurse Manager in inpatient Adult Mental Health Unit

  • Nominated by John Devassy


In Pursuit of Excellence

STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Anne Kellar – Clinical Coder in the Health Information Clinical Coding Service

  • Nominated by Tennille Rust


Read below for an explanation of the award categories and the full nominations.


Outstanding Care or Service Delivery

This category recognises an individual, group or team who has achieved outstanding care, or service delivery. This may include:

  • Achieving excellent results in their key performance areas.
  • Delivering consistently high quality service.
  • Establishing a pattern of continuous performance improvement.


STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Elizabeth Leahy – Manager, Allergy Day Unit

Elizabeth Leay

Elizabeth started with the Allergy department four years ago, when there were two doctors doing two clinics. She has developed and leads a team that now includes seven nurses and seven doctors. On average, 40 patients can be seen in a day under a model that is unique in Australia.

Elizabeth developed and rolled out the Subcutaneous Immunoglobulin Therapy program. This has enabled patients with Primary Immunodefiencies to be treated at home independently, rather than being admitted to hospital on a monthly basis. Elizabeth also works closely with the Respiratory department, and in the past six months they have collaboratively set up a Severe Asthma service to enable the coordination treatment of complex medical patients.

Elizabeth is relentless in reviewing the work within the Allergy unit to provide a high quality service that challenges how things have been done in the past to provide the best possible care for people with Allergies and Asthma. Elizabeth set up Victoria’s first Jack Jumper Ant program and developed a medication testing service, enabling patients to use medications for which they had previously been labelled as allergic.

Elizabeth and her team’s other current project is in conjunction with the Patient Experience team, reviewing the patient experience within the unit and also partnering with Dr Bernice Redley in research to explore nursing specific research projects that could be performed within the Allergy unit, improving patient safety.

Finally, in conjunction with the Pharmacy department, Elizabeth is setting up a new model in which patients obtain AeroAllergen Immunotherapy. The model was reviewed and changed to meet the national standards for dispensing medications.

In each of these projects, Elizabeth is required to coordinate, communicate and liaise with multiple departments; she does this with ease and as a result, achieves phenomenal results.

Elizabeth continuously explores ways in which feedback can be gained and seeks ways to improve the way the Unit delivers care. As can be seen from the results of what Elizabeth has achieved in four short years, her actions show she is relentless in the pursuit of excellence. 


Excellent Experiences

This award is for an individual, group or team who has made a positive impact on the experience of our people, patients or consumers. This may include:

  • Delivering consistently excellent experiences for our people, patients or consumers.
  • Improving the quality and consistency of consumer or employee experience.
  • Going the extra mile for the sake of others – displaying respect, humility and kindness.


 STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Anna Sloan – People & Culture Business Partner

Anna Sloan

Anna was nominated for her demonstration of compassion and respect to others and her efforts to deliver a positive patient experience. Anna arrived to work and whilst on her way to the office, she noticed a patient in a wheelchair, visibly upset and crying. Anna stopped to check if the patient was okay.

The patient disclosed that she had been moved onto a maternity ward, even though she was not pregnant. The patient had been at Monash Health for five days due to back pain and they were still unsure of the cause. That morning she had been given the incorrect meal, which further added to her high levels of stress being in the hospital.

Although Anna does not have a direct patient facing role, she took the time to sit down and listen to this patient’s experience and offer support. Anna asked the patient whether she had any family or friends that she could contact, to which the patient explained that she and her husband had not been getting along with one another. Anna suggested taking the patient to a quiet place and assisted her to the Aboriginal garden.

Before Anna left the patient, she provided her with contact details and asked her to call when she was ready to come back inside.

When the patient later called, Anna returned to assist her inside and offered to take her to Zouki for some breakfast, given that she had been given the wrong meal.

Patient experience is key to Monash Health’s pursuit of excellence. Anna has shown that all employees, including those who are non-patient facing, can make a huge difference to a patient’s experience. I believe Anna made a lasting impact on that patient, and it will be something she will remember when she thinks of Monash Health.


Exceptional Teamwork

This award is for individual, group or team who demonstrates outstanding teamwork qualities. This may include:

  • Building an inclusive, high-performing culture.
  • Working together to improve systems, processes and the work environment.
  • Putting quality and kindness at the heart of everything they do.


STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Allergy Day Unit

Allergy Day Unit

Sarah Barnes also nominated the Allergy Day Team, set up two and a half years ago as a new initiative. The team is led by Elizabeth Leahy but includes Nicole Weibel, Amber Frost, Robyn Graham, Emily Heke, Aimee Carroll, Irma Shelton, Samar Ojaimi and Kymble Spriggs. The group has developed a model of care that is unique in Australia. They opted for an open design model for treating patients. The team members are open in discussions with patients, carers and staff to improve the way in which the unit operates and how patients are cared for.

The culture of the team is dynamic, collegial, bright and joyful.They meet weekly, to discuss how the unit is going and ways in which they can improve. They also explore the ways in which care is provided in other health care services to see how they can do things differently. The meeting encourages all staff to speak up.

Other improvements that the team is working on include: exploring how the Jack Jumper treatment program can be administered in a shorter timeframe; using music in the treatment room; commencing telehealth for the patients who need to travel several hours; keeping data and liaising with remote hospitals and exploring our ability to set up safe satellite units to give maintenance treatment closer to home.


Excellence in Research, Teaching and Innovation

This award is for an individual, group or team who develops innovative ways to improve the quality of health care and/or service delivery. This may include:

  • Providing quality teaching/education.
  • Developing innovative approaches to enhancing care or service delivery.
  • Undertaking research that brings about significant improvements in clinical quality and safety.


STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Edward Zimbudzi – Nurse Manager, Adult Haemodialysis

Edward Zimbudzi

Edward has been involved in research to improve the quality of care and outcomes for patients. He has presented in conferences nationally and internationally. His dedication to excellence motivates his co-workers to take up projects and strive for evidence-based nursing. He has not only been an excellent Nurse Manager but an advocate for patients. His hard work never ends and he continues to be involved in research. Patients and his co-workers admire his generosity and his empathy towards everyone. He professionally manages the demands of acute nursing and his research projects.

The research Edward has undertaken includes patient-reported barriers and outcomes associated with poor glycaemic and blood pressure control in co-morbid diabetes and chronic kidney problems. Edward’s research work has been published in top journals and he was awarded Nurse of the Year in 2017 by Monash Health.


Improving Care and Access

This award is for an individual, group or team that develops improved ways for patients to access and manage their care.  This may include:

  • Developing partnerships with our community to enhance patient independence and wellbeing.
  • Supporting prevention and early intervention.
  • Developing new ways to help patients or colleagues feel safe, included, and experience improved equity of care.


STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Tracey Stephens – Project Lead & Midwife, Aboriginal Health

Tracey Stephens

Tracey is Monash Health’s Aboriginal midwife who works between community and acute services to ensure Aboriginal women and babies are able to access appointments and receive culturally appropriate and safe care. She goes above and beyond for her clients.

Since Tracey began her role, the number of Aboriginal babies being born at Monash Health has doubled. “No Shows” for pre-natal appointments for Aboriginal expectant mothers have decreased, and midwives within Monash Health now call Tracey directly when they identify an Aboriginal mother/father/baby, to ensure that person receives culturally safe care and services.

Tracey has also built a strong partnership with our local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and now offers services that complement its Koorie Maternity Services. Due to her hard work and continued effort, Tracey is now well known in the local Aboriginal community, resulting in improved maternity outcomes for Aboriginal women and babies.

Tracey has changed how Monash Health views its maternity services and has assisted in mapping out the optimum care pathway for Aboriginal women. Tracey also gives regular cultural awareness in-services to the maternity wards, student midwives, nurses, social workers and doctors to ensure they are culturally sensitive when delivering care.

An example of Tracey delivering a positive outcome in patient care is through her ability to challenge the norm. A patient was referred to Tracey who was not attending her prenatal appointments and was at risk of being reported to Child Protection. After much persistence, Tracey met the woman in a local park. The woman was terrified of hospitals due to transgenerational trauma. Tracey built rapport with the woman who then felt comfortable to attend appointments with Tracey by her side. This is just one of many cases where Tracey has gone above and beyond.

Tracey does not shy away from a challenge and has advocated for culturally safe practices within maternity for the past four years. She has had to have many difficult conversations, challenged racism and ignorance to ensure her patients receive the best care possible.

Her passion and dedication to her role have shone through and when you ask Tracey how she is going on a busy day, her typical response is “It’s a little bit crazy but I don’t care because this is my dream job and I love it.”


Managing Wisely

This award is for an individual, group or team who actively look for ways to minimise waste and manage resources wisely. This may include:

  • Developing or implementing a sustainable initiative that reduces waste and/or cost.
  • Improving resource management to provide value back to the health service.


STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Elizabeth Fulco – Nurse Manager in inpatient Adult Mental Health Unit

Elizabeth Fulco

Elizabeth was able to significantly reduce paper cup waste and cut costs with the introduction of reusable cups for clients on the 50-bed rehab inpatient unit in Mental Health.

Elizabeth clearly communicated with her team and clients about the reasons for the change. She initiated a quality activity plan, implementing the change with safe and effective strategies. With her team’s help, Elizabeth regularly monitored the change and provided feedback and support as needed.

This initiative helped to boost confidence among the clients, assisting them during their return to the community. It has made a difference to the unit’s culture and could contribute significantly to reducing the costs across more units within the organisation.




In Pursuit of Excellence

This category recognises an individual, group or team who have personified our intent to be relentless in the pursuit of excellence. This may include:

  • Demonstrating continued improvement in their approach to work.
  • Embodying the principles of teamwork, kindness, achievement and quality.
  • Making an outstanding contribution to the experience of our people, patients or consumers.


STAR Quarterly Award Winner: Anne Kellar – Clinical Coder in the Health Information Clinical Coding Service

Anne Kellar

Anne was nominated for the positive changes she has bought to our team, through her outstanding contributions. She is always bringing us together as a team and demonstrating acts of kindness which extend into other areas of our hospital and the community. Anne has made our coding team more inclusive and functional. She has improved our team’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Examples of Anne’s contributions are team activities and Monash Health initiatives she designs. Anne created our ‘Coffee Catch-up Cuppa’s’, where we catch up with different staff in our department in small groups to get to know a wider range of colleagues. Coding can be a solitary environment and the implementation of this team-focused initiative has been an uplifting activity for all in our department and it is especially valuable to new employees.

Anne is also our OHS representative and provides information to the team, such as the Employee Assistance Program and she continues to remind us of the opportunities available to us. She is a Wellbeing Champion and always promotes Wellbeing Week, the Walking Challenge, R.U.O.K Day and similar activities.

Anne is always proactive and solution-focused, taking action on tasks and completing them, which contributes to a team culture of excellence. Anne always aims to deliver high standards in her performance of all roles and tasks she carries out and meets all our iCARE values. Anne is still maintaining this excellent attitude year after year and making our department a much safer, friendlier and happy place to work.

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