The Association of Queensland Nurse Leaders (AQNL) bestowed its 2011 Outstanding Achievement in Nursing Award to an aged care nurse, Karen Crouch, in a ceremony last week during the annual AQNL Conference.
Ms Crouch* is Group Manager, Practice Development and Quality at Anglicare, a Queensland-based not-for-profit community and residential care provider, and received the peer-nominated award for her leadership and professional achievements in this position.
Anglicare’s Business Development Manager, Alison Little**, said the award-winning Ms Crouch had provided clinical leadership to a number of the organisation’s innovative programs, such as the Chronic Condition Self-Management program, and “continues to make an invaluable contribution to the organisation’s Clinical Governance Committee”.
The Chronic Condition Self-Management program itself also won an award this year, for workforce innovation.
“Receiving the peer-nominated award is a great honour for Karen both as an educator and nurse practitioner,” Ms Little said.
“Since 2009, Karen has led the Practice Development and Quality Group reinforcing and supporting Anglicare’s commitment to community and aged care. She is a credit to her profession and is highly valued as a mentor to our nursing staff.
“We are proud of her latest achievement and ongoing contribution as an advocate for clients and nurses, ensuring high standards or practice are achieved and maintained.”
According to Anglicare, Ms Crouch has taken on the challenge of encouraging and facilitating workforce progression for nurses in aged care, as workforce pressure continues to weigh heavily on the sector.
To this end, she played a key role in the creation of a Graduate Nurse role within the organisation earlier this year, according to a statement from the Queensland provider.
“The final Productivity Commission report released in 2011 provides recommendations around the need to secure a significant expansion in the aged care workforce at a time of an aged induced tightening of the labour market,” the statement reads.
“The implementation of a formal Graduate Nurse Program lead by Karen represents one vital strategy for Anglicare in responding to this workforce challenge.
“Karen was proudly among the first group of registered nurses to graduate from the Queensland University of Technology with a Master of Nursing Science (Nurse Practitioner) degree in 2007.
“In 2009, she became one of the first two nurse practitioners authorised to prescribe medications in Queensland, having contributed to the development of the inaugural Health Management Protocols on behalf of Redlands Hospital. These Protocols have subsequently become a nursing reference tool throughout the state.
“During her time with Anglicare, Karen has reviewed the clinical care model used to deliver Anglicare services and the role that nurse practitioners play in the community and aged care sector, in response to industry reform.”
Karen is also described by her employer as “a great supporter and mentor of nursing staff” throughout the organisation.
* Karen Crouch accepted the role of Director, Service Delivery with Anglicare Southern Queensland during July 2012.
** On 1 July 2012, Alison Little was appointed to the position of Director, Service Enablement and Strategy within Anglicare Southern Queensland.