Judy Smith receives Queen’s Birthday Honour

RDNS SA congratulates its employee Judy Smith, who has been recognised on the Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honours List, being made a Member of the Order of Australia.

Mrs Smith received the Order of Australia Honour for her significant service to community health through pharmacy regulation and health practitioner roles to nursing, and to aged persons.

Thrilled to receive the prestigious honour, Mrs Smith said she has had a fabulous and rewarding career that began from very humble beginnings.

“For girls back then, you either became a nurse, teacher or worked in a bank as a teller – and once you were married the expectation was to stay at home and look after your children,” Mrs Smith said.

“I’ve been involved with nursing for more than 50 years and it’s amazing to see how the world has changed for the better. Thankfully, what has remained the same is the massive difference and impact nurses have on individual’s lives.

“With nursing, it’s often the smallest acts that have the biggest impact, such as a palliative care nurse putting their arms around a carer and offering comfort.”

Mrs Smith has dedicated much of her life to caring for others, first as a nurse at the age of 16, through to the boardroom as an Executive Director of Nursing and now as a semi-retired Consumer Liaison Officer at RDNS SA.

Now 68 and semi-retired, Mrs Smith is happily married with two children, three step children and nine grandchildren. She also continues to help others in her part time role as a Consumer Liaison Officer, advocating for the voice of consumers and ensuring RDNS SA’s policies and procedures have a consumer focus.

“Consumer centred care is the main course, it’s not a side dish,” Judy said.

“Recognising consumer needs and catering to them is the core of what we do in community care, nursing and aged care. If you get that right, everything else falls into place.”

Not one to stop pushing boundaries, Judy became a pilot two years ago – a feat that reminded her that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Jokingly, Mrs Smith admits she wanted to become a pilot out of pure self-preservation.

“My husband was learning to fly and if I was going to be in the cockpit with him I wanted to know how to land the plane, just in case,” Mrs Smith said.

“I love the feeling of flying, it takes your brain to another level. It is very humbling to think back to my time as a 16-year-old nurse, and all that I’ve accomplished as a professional woman.

“Compared to men, there has been significantly less women that have received the Order of Australia honour, so I encourage people to support their female peers and nominate people who they believe should be recognised for their community contributions.”