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December 2012

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Emergency Nurse of the Year Liz Virtue.

Top emergency nurse

Royal Melbourne Hospital Emergency Services Manager Liz Virtue has been named College of Emergency Nursing Australasia’s Emergency Nurse of the Year.

‘Throughout her career, she has nurtured and developed countless nurses in the emergency department, earning the admiration and respect from her staff and colleagues for her leadership and clinical expertise,’ said RMH Nursing Services and Allied Health Executive Director Denise Heinjus.

‘Everyone is extremely proud of her achievement.

‘In my 40 years of nursing, I can think of no one more worthy of this prestigious award,’ Associate Professor Heinjus said.

For the past 13 years, Ms Virtue has managed a team of more than 150 nurses at one of Australia’s busiest trauma services, helping them to develop professionally and personally and encouraging communication between the nursing, medical and nonclinical teams.

In 2009, she supported her staff through the ED’s redevelopment, a $53 million project and the single largest emergency department redevelopment ever undertaken in Victoria.

The hospital continued to provide emergency services from temporary facilities during the build.

Ms Virtue’s passion for patient care and safety has put her at the forefront of research, leading a multidisciplinary group investigating ways to reduce aggression in the ED.

The program developed at the Royal Melbourne Hospital emergency department has since been rolled out to 18 EDs across Victoria.

Recently, Ms Virtue led a team to look at ways the emergency department could improve the care given to patients who presented eight or more times a year, developing care management plans for this vulnerable group.