The achievements of Goulburn Valley Health nurse Ingrid O’Brien were celebrated this week when she was awarded the inaugural Mel Brown Nursing Memorial Gift in a ceremony that touched the hearts of all of those in attendance.
The gift, established in honour of Mel Brown’s legacy, aims to recognise and support individuals such as Ms O’Brien, who mirror the same passion and commitment to patient care that Mel embodied in her role as a nurse at GV Health.
Ms O’Brien’s journey with GV Health spans more than 15 years, during which time she has made impactful contributions in various roles within the hospital.
“It’s an honour to be awarded this scholarship … [having] known Mel and worked with her and knowing how important GV Health was to her, as well as being part of the community,” she said.
“She always took medical education on board, and she was helpful and welcoming to new people with her clinical skills and knowledge.”
The scholarship opens doors for Ms O’Brien to pursue advanced training and education, allowing her to enhance her skills and knowledge in the area of paediatric diabetes.
“It’s an honour for me to be able to go and further my education and bring that back to our community because I feel that Mel would have thought that it’s great that we are giving back to the community that she was part of,” Ms O’Brien said.
Annie Brown, Mel’s mum, was in attendance and praised the wonderful initiative.
She said Mel was renowned for her dedication to providing the best care to patients at GV Health, exemplifying the true spirit of being a nurse.
“I’m so proud of Mel, she was such a gorgeous girl, and everyone here today loved her like we did,” Mrs Brown said.
“Melanie was all for education, so she would just have loved that Ingrid has been awarded with this gift.”
Funding for the gift was donated by Mel’s friends and family, which, according to GV Health Foundation and Engagement director Claire Ewart-Kennedy, was a testament to the generosity of the Goulburn Valley community.
“We’re doing something that is giving back to the community, to [Mel’s] community, but also to people that knew her and valued her as a friend and a work colleague,” Ms Ewart-Kennedy said.
“It’s one of the nicest things about my job and it’s making sure that when people donate in a certain way — it is spent exactly as it should be.”
Mel lost her life in January 2021 as a result of a long illness.
Through the gift, Ms O’Brien carries with her the spirit of Mel, guiding her in the pursuit of nursing excellence and compassionate patient care at GV Health.
To donate to the Mel Brown Nursing Memorial Gift fund, visit the GV Health Foundation website at https://gvhealthfoundation.org.au/