BlueScope nurse nationally recognised


Applauded: Award-winning Illawarra nurse Lara Tramacco was among thousands of nurses in the region who celebrated International Nurses' Day on Monday. She runs mental health awareness workshops for workers at BlueScope Port Kembla.Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Applauded: Award-winning Illawarra nurse Lara Tramacco was among thousands of nurses in the region who celebrated International Nurses' Day on Monday. She runs mental health awareness workshops for workers at BlueScope Port Kembla.Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

In her steel-capped boots and hi-vis vest, Lara Tramacco doesn't look like a typical nurse but her passion for the profession has been recognised nationally.

As she observed International Nurses' Day on Monday, the nurse at BlueScope's Port Kembla steelworks was also celebrating her recent achievement in the 2014 HESTA Australian Nursing Awards.

Mrs Tramacco was one of five finalists in the Nurse of the Year category and while she didn't take out the top spot, she was applauded for the mental health awareness campaign she has tailored for the steelworks' 3500, mostly male, employees.

After initial training with the beyondblue workplace program, she has now completed about 35 mental health workshops for company crews.

"One in eight males suffer from depression or anxiety in their lifetime and that's just the reported statistics. The real figure would be much higher," Mrs Tramacco said.

"Because of the stigma around mental health, and the fact that many men don't like to discuss health issues, I came up with this program to help raise awareness among workers. The workshops cover the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions so workers can recognise these in themselves or their colleagues.

"They also provide information on what support services are in place, from the company or within the community."

Mrs Tramacco said workplace issues like health and safety, workplace stress and retrenchment were covered in the forums which were still being rolled out.

She said she was "humbled" that her colleagues had nominated her for the national awards, which were announced last week. She said International Nurses' Day was the perfect time to reflect on her 17-year career, which began in the emergency department at a Sydney hospital and continues at the steelworks' onsite medical centre.

"I'm an occupational health nurse, a registered nurse and an emergency nurse," she said. "Nursing can take you a lot of places and give you a lot of different opportunities."

Nurses in hospitals and healthcare facilities celebrated the global day which is held each year on May 12 - the birthday of the world's most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale.

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