RFDS Rural health west awards

RFDS WA crew in the running for 2022 Rural Health West Excellence Awards

Date published

17 Oct 2022

Two nurses and a unique multidisciplinary team involved in establishing the RFDS' remote COVID-19 vaccination program have been named finalists in three out of 12 categories in the 2022 Rural Health West Excellence Awards.

vax team
kate jones
Marianne Testi

Marianne Testi (pictured right), who has worked as an RFDS Flight Nurse for thirty years and has served regional communities as a Registered Nurse and Midwife for almost her entire 43-year career, has been named a finalist in the Rural Nurse/Midwife of the Year Award category.  

Marianne was nominated for her unwavering commitment and vital contributions to rural health in WA, in particular COVID-proofing the RFDS' aircraft fleet to ensure service continuity throughout the pandemic, supporting the rebuild of the Broome base and helping to shape the RFDS' vaccination roll out in remote Aboriginal communities. 

Kate Jones
, an experienced Registered Nurse who has led the Primary Healthcare Team in Broome and provided clinical leadership to drive the RFDS’ COVID-19 vaccination program forward from 2018 to June 2022 has also been named a finalist in the Clinical Leadership Award category.

From the outset of the pandemic, Kate was instrumental in developing clinical guidelines and training a newly recruited team of 18 vaccinators on the unique processes of handling, drawing up and administering Pfizer vaccinations. 

She established best-practice principles and protocols for the ultra-cold storage and cold-chain management of vaccines and collaborated with multiple health agencies to facilitate the program. A lasting legacy of Kate’s leadership has been the upskilling of local health workers to build local capability.

vax clinic rawllinna

Additionally, a unique multidisciplinary COVID-19 vaccination team made up of doctors, pilots, nurses, logisticians, engineers, clinical governance, education and human resources professionals, have been named a finalist in the Building Healthy Country Communities Award category.

Since May 2020, the team have played a pivotal role in ensuring vaccines can safely reach some of our State’s remote and vulnerable communities; coordinating flights, clinics, vaccine supply and education resources in partnership with many WA health services and built robust processes to ensure excellent standards of clinical governance and cold-chain management of vaccines from the ground up. 

To date, the RFDS WA COVID-19 Vaccination Team have transported and administered nearly 11,000 vaccines to outback WA communities.

Winners of the 2022 WA Rural Health Excellence Awards will be announced at a gala dinner on Saturday 22 October at Crown Perth. 

Please join us in wishing them the best of luck!

Photo: RFDS COVID-19 remote vaccination clinic at Rawlinna Station, Australia's largest operating sheep station.