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Year of the Nurse & Midwife Award Winners

Congratulations Matthew and Debbie!

Matthew and Debbie


Matthew Tyler, Nurse, Port Pirie SA

"I’ve been working as a Registered Nurse for nearly 10 years now. Nursing runs in the family – both my Mum & Dad are Registered Nurses (Dad’s now retired), my sister is a Registered Nurse working in Adelaide & my wife is a Registered Nurse AND a midwife (which she loves reminding me – she’s got two degrees to my one).

I’ve worked in various areas but I tend to be most comfortable in the Emergency setting. I’ve been based in the Port Pirie Regional Health Service’s Emergency Department for the majority of my career and had some amazing experiences working alongside some incredible colleagues. I’ve tried to pick up as many skills and little ways of doing things from the people that I’ve worked with to help develop my approach to Nursing which seems to be working out so far! Some of the people I’ve worked with that have all taught me something incredibly important are of course, my incredible wife Tara Tyler, my ‘Discharge Planning Queen’ mother Barb, my long-suffering boss Andrew Taylor, the most capable, resilient Nurse I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with (and that is understating things a WHOLE bunch) Kim Porcelli, the Resus magnets Mel Fudge and Christie Sargent, Nikki Arbon and her husband Nathan Marwick, Mike Boylan, Emily Rucioch, Erin Milller, Guy Forgan, Kerri Bull, Trudy Hanlon, Demi Freer, Kaitlyn Jebb and a billion more – I’m really sorry if I missed anybody.

One of my favourite moments in Nursing was receiving a thank you card from a lady that I’d looked after who found herself in a particularly dicey state relatively quickly & who ended up being urgently transferred to another hospital for further care. She very kindly wrote how despite being a little bit worse for wear after recovering, she credited me with remaining alive based on what her husband had told her. She’d been a little… unconscious at the time to remember a great deal.

I love making people feel as though the health care setting isn’t a sombre and serious experience, even though we have a serious job to do. If people are more relaxed and informed about their whereabouts and their treatment, they’re more inclined to be more involved, retain more about their experience and hopefully leaves them with a positive experience overall.

Nobody likes coming to hospital, it’s one of the only places I can think of where you can honestly say ‘I don’t want to see you again in here’ and it’s a COMPLIMENT. However, if you can take what might be a tense, scary experience – say for a child or someone in a life or death situation – and turn it into a positive experience (maybe even have them leaving with a smile on their face!) then it makes the job so incredibly rewarding.
In the future I’d love to work towards slotting into a role where I can help improve student placements in the hospital setting. I think we can do a lot to improve our current processes with Nursing students so we can develop better ways to teach and be taught by them in return!"

Debbie Graham, Midwife, Geelong VIC

"I am a Registered Nurse and Midwife, and I have been working as a Midwife at St John of God Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, for the past 25 years.
Forty years ago I commenced my training to be a Nurse, and years later I still love that every day is different, constantly filled with meeting different people, facing new challenges, days filled with laughter and happiness and at times tears, treasured friendships and wonderful memories.

My highlight in my current career is the amazing, supportive team I work with every day at St John of God. I am excited that I was nominated by one of our Obstetricians for this award, as it displays an appreciation for our wonderful team of midwives, and that our dedication and care to patients and colleagues is noted.

I love every aspect of Midwifery and embrace I have been given the opportunity to be involved in so many areas in our unit. In Maternity Admissions, is an opportunity to welcome our new mothers, offer advice and support for the coming months. In my role as Childbirth Educator it is so rewarding, seeing couples arrive apprehensive and leave positive, excited and reassured. It is a privilege to care for a couple in Birthing Suite and witnessing the joy as they meet their precious baby. On the Postnatal ward, the joys and challenges of helping them rest, recover and prepare for going home with a new baby.
As an Administrator on our SJOG Antenatal Connection Facebook, the aim is to help overcome isolation of Covid19, giving a personal community feel to SJOG expecting mothers so they can exchange posts, ask questions and receive updates.

Covid19 has made nurses this year step out of their boundaries and reach forward. Due to restricted visitors I am a strong advocate to remind everyone to capture our new families daily special moments on camera so parents can relive the highlights with their family once home and bridge the gap.

My portfolio at SJOG is Stillbirth, providing parents faced with the devastating loss their baby and the caregivers the support, comfort, knowledge and guidance to make informed decisions. I am focused on the importance of presentation when preserving precious memories and treasured mementos which are so cherished and in may cases is the only reality their beautiful baby existed.

I am a member of the working party for Decreased Fetal Movement Guidelines at SJOG, to increase every mother's awareness of their baby’s movements and to recognise and act if the pattern changes. I love that my variety of roles allows me to keep educating and supporting our mothers for positive outcomes.
Working as a midwife and being part of an amazing team every day is my dream job!"

About the Awards

The Year of the Nurse and Midwife Awards was an awards initiative by Still Aware aimed to celebrate 2020 being the first official Year of the Nurse and Midwife recognized by the World Health Organisation.

The awards followed a nomination process in which nurses and midwives from all over were nominated by their co-workers, friends, and family.

From then, 22 nominees advanced to the voting stage and were asked to share their story and write a short biography which we then shared to our wider Still Aware community for a public vote. 

We had over 5,000 votes during this stage - a fantastic effort by everyone involved! If you want to read the other nominees stories you can do so here.

Once again - we thank everyone for taking to time to get involved. This year, more than ever, we must show more acknowledgement and support to the selfless men and women putting themselves at risk every day to keep families safe.