Meet the Nurse of the Year


Did you know the Nurse of the Year is right here at UTS?

Judy Smith, UTS nursing lecturer and perioperative nursing coordinator, has been awarded ‘Nurse of the Year’ at the Australian Healthcare Week Excellence Awards!

This award recognises Australia and New Zealand’s most outstanding nurses who’ve demonstrated exceptional performance in patient care, education, leadership, research and administration. More specifically, Judy is acknowledged for her passion and commitment to teaching perioperative nursing students at UTS, particularly in the area of simulated learning.

Judy Smith announced Nurse of the Year at Australian Healthcare Week Excellence Awards [1]
What’s perioperative nursing all about? Perioperative nurses care for patients before, during and after surgery or interventional procedures [2].

Meet Judy and hear what she had to say:

I’ve been a perioperative nurse for over 25 years.

As an undergraduate nurse it was never on my radar. I had never even considered perioperative nursing – I was going to be a midwife and that was that! But at the end of my new grad year, I felt I wanted to experience something in nursing that was a bit different from general ward nursing.

So, I responded to an ad for a training program in theatres at the Mater Hospital, and I have never looked back. From the day I started in theatres, I was excited and passionate about this specialty and still am just as passionate and excited 25 years later.

Since I took over the coordinator role of perioperative nursing at UTS, my objective has been to offer authentic learning for both undergraduate and postgraduate nurses.

The UTS Perioperative lab

As perioperative nursing is very dynamic, performed in a complex environment and driven by advanced surgical techniques and highly sophisticated technical systems, I realised that for this to be successful, we need an environment that can capably simulate the perioperative setting. My goal for this environment is a space where students can engage in active learning with hands-on experiences in which they are able to witness the results of their actions in real time.

As the face of the perioperative environment is changing, so too are the roles and responsibilities of the perioperative nurse.

We are currently in a time of rapidly developing surgical techniques, mind-blowing technological innovation and incredible advances in biomedicine. Therefore, as the face of the perioperative environment is changing, so too are the roles and responsibilities of the perioperative nurse. This has created a degree of ‘technology stress’ amongst perioperative nurses. However, no matter how advanced or technical the environment becomes, technology can supplement but never replace the nursing care we provide.

“As perioperative nurses we work right within the interface between the rigidity of scientific advancement and those very real moments related to vulnerability, suffering and fear of our patients.”


And finally… what do I think makes a good nurse?

A passion for helping people – quite simple really.

UTS offers courses in perioperative nursing in the final year of the Bachelor of Nursing and at advanced level in postgraduate nursing degrees.

Find out more about nursing at UTS



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