Weipa nurse earns Children's Health medal of distinction

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Weipa nurse Esther Rutherford.

Queensland Children’s Hospital’s visiting medical officer Adjunct Professor Geoff Askin and the late Dr David Levitt, and Esther Rutherford from Weipa Integrated Health Service are the 2023 recipients of the Children’s Health Queensland Medal of Distinction.

“The Medal of Distinction acknowledges Queenslanders who have made a significant impact - either through direct health care, research, education, community support, engagement or activation, or outstanding advocacy – by dedicating themselves and their careers to our youngest and most vulnerable,” Children’s Health Queensland Board Chair David Gow said.

Esther Rutherford has worked as a nurse at Weipa Hospital for the past 29 years, playing a critical role in the health and wellbeing of generations of children in remote Far North Queensland.

Esther has dedicated her life to the hospital and the communities it serves, forming strong and enduring connections with families as she cared for their children from young babies through to adulthood.

Her work has also helped address the health equity gap for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children living in rural and remote areas. In her most recent role as a theatre nurse, Esther’s commitment and care has given children across Far North Queensland local access to common surgical services such as dental extractions under general anaesthesia, and ear, nose and throat surgery.

Her knowledge of community kinships and complex relationships has allowed her to arrange surgical interventions for children that are closer to home than regional hospitals are and culturally safe for children from remote communities.

Esther has also been an outstanding role model to other nurses and teaches them to consider the many challenges when caring for children from different cultural backgrounds and the complexities that children incur living in rural and remote areas.

For more details about this award, visit Children’s Health Queensland Medal of Distinction.

Torres and Cape HHS acknowledge this content was prepared by Children’s Health.