by Vanessa Jarrett
THE operational services team at Biloela Hospital were recognised as the best in the region at the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service's 2017 MedRecruit CQ Health Staff Recognition Awards last Thursday.
Chief Executive Steve Williamson said health workers were caring people by nature and it was essential they feel valued for their contribution to the community.
"These annual awards are a small way of us saying a big 'thank-you' to our wonderful staff for their dedication and commitment to providing top-class health care to central Queenslanders,” he said.
"We received almost 200 nominations in this year's awards, which is a great indication of the pride our staff have in their teams and each other.
Supervisor Sue Plahn and cook Sandi Wells were part of the operational services team and were honoured.
"We were really stunned for a couple of seconds, we were up against the renal team and the media team in Rockhampton so we didn't think we had a chance,” Sue said.
The operational team have many different roles, supporting around 20 staff members who do everything from cleaning wards to meals on wheels.
"We keep the hospital running,” Sue said.
A statement from Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service said the Biloela team were recognised for their care of co-workers and their community
"They regularly hold fundraisers and offer support to workmates in need, and every year make sure Meals on Wheels clients have a Christmas lunch to remember,” the statement read.
Sue and Sandi said it is a whole team effort from not just the operational services team but the Biloela Hospital as a whole as well.
"We work together to raise money for our fellow workers,” Sue said.
"And a lot of it is compassion for what they are going through and working as a team to raise money for them,” Sandi said.
Biloela Hospital Director of Nursing Joy Pittman enthusiastically acknowledged the team and said it was well deserved.
"It is really special to have a team like that, that go above to think of their community and not just the staff,” Joy said.
"I was crying when I found out, we were just over the moon and you couldn't wipe the smile off our faces. And not that I am skiting, but there was only 10 awards and we won two.”
BILOELA Hospital picked up another award at the Awards Gala, with local midwife Maria Fogarty being awarded the Compassion Award.
More than humble, Maria said it was almost "embarrassing” to pick up the award because it was a joint effort.
"I just think when you are nursing it is a team,” Maria said.
"We all work here as a team and we are all compassionate.”
The mother of two children came to Biloela in 1995 and had only planned to stay for one year.
Twenty-two years later Maria is still in Biloela and couldn't be happier.
Maria said it was the community of Biloela Hospital and the town itself that had made her stay over the years.
"It is a great workplace, a good community and a great place to raise children,” she said.
"And Joy's great leadership and mentorship is a reason I have stayed as well.”
Maria has been nursing for 31 years and has been a midwife for the past 25 years.
She said midwifery in Biloela was extra spacial.
"I enjoy working here because we meet the mother in antenatal classes and follow them up,” Maria said.
"We don't always get to see them give birth here but we see them again after.
"So you get to know the whole family unit.
"And you are a familiar face for when they come in to give birth or for an appointment.”
With experience working in major cities like Toowoomba and Brisbane, Maria said working in rural hospitals was a whole new world.
"Rural nursing is very different because you don't have skills in one area, you have to learn across the board,” she said.
"You can't specialise in one thing. I am a midwife and I work in palliative care and pediatrics and all sorts of things as well.”
While each job has its ups and downs, Maria is more than passionate about midwifery and her workplace.
"It is pretty challenging and exciting, no two births are ever the same,” she said.
"Just sharing the experience with the family is really special.
"I absolutely just love it.”