June 29, 2023

Tracey Webster awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia

Tracey Webster OAM, Director, Clinical Leadership, Effectiveness and Outcomes (CLEO), was recently awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours.

This prestigious honour is in recognition of Tracey’s many decades of service to nursing and community health.

“It’s still a shock because I thought they seriously got the wrong person. But it is also an honour,” Tracey said.

“I am not someone that would get something like this, I am just a nurse. When you look at the list of people who received this honour, they are all amazing and I am very ordinary.”

Tracey’s career began as a student nurse in the UK in 1985, where she went on to become a paediatric nurse working in hospitals and across the community. In 2004, Southern Health, now Monash Health, was advertising to UK nurses to come and work down under. Tracey decided to move half-way across the world to Australia, where she began working as a specialist paediatric nurse.

“Since I have been here in Australia, I’ve been a paediatric state-wide palliative care nurse, I’ve done case management, health promotion, supported care screening for cancer patients and I have also been the director of a community health service,” Tracey said.

“I also went out to Marysville for three months, helping to set up all the counselling and support services, which was quite confronting during the bushfires. It was a privilege – I learnt a lot about myself as a nurse. It was some of the most challenging nursing I have ever done, but also just a massive privilege to be on that journey.”

Tracey began working at Northern Health in 2019 as a quality coordinator. When COVID-19 struck in 2020, Tracey was instrumental in setting up Northern Health’s Telehealth service as the Telehealth Project Officer. Tracey was acknowledged for this work during Northern Health’s Quarterly Staff Recognition Awards in August 2021, where she won the Patient Experience Award. Tracey has also assisted Dr Katharine See in setting up the first lung cancer pathway.

Now, Tracey is the Director of CLEO team – a digital health team responsible for supporting clinicians with the redesign of models of care, including the developing and implementation of digital care pathways.

“I have loved my time here at Northern Health. I love the community we serve, I love the diversity of the staff,” she said.

“I love the fact that people come here to do the best that they can every day and Northern Health is probably one of the main places that I have felt that.¬†Every single person genuinely comes here every day to do their best for the community we serve.”

“I have done some really great innovative work, and everything I have done, is as a team. I am now working with Dr Katharine See which is amazing and this is the most excited I have ever been working as a nurse.”

“We need to use technology as an enabler. We have to keep changing in nursing and give nurses time back with their patients by embracing the use of technology, using it to your advantage because there are going to be a lot of changes with the use of technology in patient care in the next 10 years.”

Tracey is hoping her achievements as a nurse, and being awarded this prestigious honour, encourages future and present nurses to continue pursuing their dream of nursing.

“Nursing is a fantastic career, especially with the breadth of jobs you can do as nurse. You can achieve anything with nursing,” she said.

“I am hoping nurses realise that they can achieve anything. It’s been rewarding to serve our community and making a difference in the lives of our patients and rewarding to support colleagued in giving them back time with patients.”

Here is what some of our staff had to say about Tracey’s achievement.

“Congratulations Tracey, amazing!” – Lisa Cox, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer.

“Congratulations Tracey! So proud to be working with such an amazing inspirational leader in health. Your humble yet¬†determined leadership will move mountains. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.” – Elisha O’Dowd, Effectiveness and Outcomes Manager, CLEO.

“Congratulations Tracey Webster, absolutely amazing!” – Hayley Gray, Nurse Unit Manager, Victorian Virtual Emergency Department.

“Congratulations Tracey. Such a well-deserved honour in recognition of your many years of service to the community.” – Melanie Moore, Spiritual Care Leader, Counsellor, Supervisor.

On behalf of everyone at Northern Health, we give Tracey a big congratulations on this amazing achievement.