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Providing comprehensive healthcare in Apollo Bay

Brad PickeringBrad Pickering works at Otway Health in Apollo Bay as a Clinical Nurse Manager. The role is a combination of the Nurse Unit Manager and the Nurse Practitioner roles. In this capacity, Brad engages in the responsibilities of the Nurse Unit Manager as well as attending all urgent care presentations during business hours and providing an on-call service for the Urgent Care Centre from Monday to Thursday. Over the past 12 months in the role of CNM, Brad has been able to provide comprehensive timely, safe and judicious care to the Apollo Bay community. We caught up with Brad to talk to him about his journey in providing rural healthcare.

How long have you been working in rural health?

I have worked in a regional centre all of my nursing career, my move to Apollo Bay is the first time I have moved to an area of rural and Isolated practice.

What inspired you to work in rural health?

I was inspired by my sense of community and my belief that the role of the Nurse Practitioner could have a positive impact in the rural setting. Training as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner the rural remote setting allows the role to be utilised to its full scope of practice.

How did the RWAV relocation grant help you?

It helped me in a time of transition. There are numerous challenges when moving. Let alone moving States, especially with my wife and four children. The grant helped immensely in my initial relocation; I was able to move to Victoria, with three of my children. My wife had to stay in Queensland to finish some of her university subjects. So, while my wife and youngest child stayed in Queensland during this time the relocation grant assisted with rent and utilities.

Briefly, were there any challenges you faced working in rural health?

Initially being a nurse practitioner and moving to Victoria, the key challenges were obtaining a provider number and prescriber number and applying to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency for notations to my registration. All these took time and affected my ability to practice initially. Secondary challenges I experienced were adapting to the limited access to services and clinical isolation.

Some of the challenging cases I have had to work through in my time in the rural setting have been cardiac tamponade, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, acute asthma requiring intubation, walk-in traumas (e.g., motor vehicle accidents, surfing accidents), along with the regular emergency presentations one would expect. Living close to the facility and being on-call and an isolated clinician has opened my eyes to the challenges of rural health.

Tell us how you overcame them.

Provider number was a challenge and required discussion and special consideration with the Department of Health. Prescriber number and notations, which are unique to Victoria, were easily overcome and progressed smoothly however, required time to process.

Clinical isolation is something that I have been over coming through networking, mentoring and clinical growth and stabilisation in Otway Health. Key individuals that assisted with dealing with my isolation were Dr Charlie Corke, Dr David Mullen, Katherine Sloan NP, Simone O’Brian, Dr Tash Jennings, Dr Jane O’Connell, ARV and the Local MICA Tony Mendic and the Nurse Practitioner locum solutions team members. These clinicians have provided me with collegial support needed when practicing in the rural setting. Every day I am discovering there are more challenges in rural health however as an integrated team and an organisation we work together to overcome these challenges.

In your view, is there a need for more nurse practitioners in rural areas? Why?

The needs in rural health are great and clinician coverage is an ongoing issue for regional communities, across Australia. The Nurse Practitioner role is one suited to providing comprehensive timely, safe and judicious care to a community. This can be facilitated by working in collaboration with other healthcare professionals to share the on-call rotations to prevent fatigue and ultimately burnout and education supports and mentoring for nursing cohorts in regional areas. Rural health is currently suffering significant shortages in clinician coverage. Utilising roles such as the Nurse Practitioner across these platforms is, in my opinion, the way forward in providing comprehensive healthcare for all Australians.


Msc (Fin), FCCA, FGIA, CA

Shay brings over 20 years of financial
management experience in commercial and not-for-profit organizations. He has a
rich and varied experience in multiple finance and leadership roles in the
United Kingdom and Australia, including CFO, GM Finance & IT, Commercial
Manager Operations, Finance Manager and Accountant.

His extensive leadership experience is
augmented by an FGIA, FCCA, CA, a Masters in Finance and an undergraduate degree in
accounting and finance.

RN, GradDip(Health Promotion), PRINCE2, Mini MBA

Kate is a Registered Nurse highly experienced in health promotion and project management. Her people and program management skills enable her to be agile and adaptable while maintaining an outcomes focus on improving quality access to primary healthcare.

Kate’s extensive experience working with all levels of government, the community and stakeholders across the sector have provided her with insights into the challenges rural communities and health professionals face. Kate has led the design and delivery of many innovative and strategic health promotion and grants programs, supporting better access to health services, health information and activities across communities. Whilst at RWAV, Kate has led the transformation of the RWAV grants program, enhanced the administration of a number of programs and developed the RWAV allied health portfolio. She has also led the development of the RWAV research program of activities.

Having worked at RWAV since 2020, Kate will continue positively influencing the rural healthcare workforce and access to services.

Social Work (BA Hons), DipSW

With a background in social work and a proven record in recruitment, project management, and business development, Jo brings strategic leadership and a wealth of experience in driving positive outcomes within the health, human services, and State Government sectors.

Jo specialises in managing health professional recruitment and outreach programs, including the More Doctors for Rural Australia and 3GA programs. Her focus is on implementing innovative workforce strategies and clinical governance to bolster RWAV’s mission of enhancing healthcare accessibility in rural and regional Victoria.

Having previously excelled at RWAV, Jo spearheaded successful internal change initiatives while fostering strong relationships with external stakeholders. Her efforts consistently align with RWAV’s strategic direction, ensuring a cohesive approach to driving impactful change.

Beyond her professional expertise, Jo’s passion lies in uniting communities and championing positive transformations in rural healthcare in Victoria.

Martin is a governance professional and lawyer with experience in private practice and in-house legal roles. He has been a company secretary for public and private sector organisations across a range of industries including VicTrack, Regis Healthcare Limited and Dairy Australia Limited. He holds Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from the University of Melbourne, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia (GIA) and is a fellow of the GIA.

With a rich background of consulting and in-house people and culture roles with the corporate, government and community sectors, Andrea is responsible for leading the implementation of RWAV’s People and Culture strategy, policies, processes, functions and team.

Andrea has significant experience in leading teams across culture, capability, diversity, equity, leadership, organisational development and learning programs as well as core human resources partnering.

With a strong focus on building and maintaining psychologically safe organisations, Andrea’s team is dedicated to ensuring that RWAV is a place where people can work well and be well at work.


Rosemary has had a varied career as an academic teaching economics, public policy and industrial relations, and as a consultant, advocate, health union official and as a director.

She brings strong governance and strategic skills to the Board, as well as knowledge and depth of experience in health policy, economics and investment.

Rosemary was a Director of Aware Super for nine years, and Chair of the Investment Committee for three years. She was also a member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, the Governance Committee and the REM and HR Committee. Rosemary is currently a member of the Investment Committee of Cbus.

She was the Secretary of the Victorian Psychologists Association Inc for 20 years and knows first-hand the difficulties in attracting and retaining health professionals in rural and regional Victoria.

Dr Louise Manning is a rural GP Obstetrics trainee practising in Central Victoria where she delivers general practice, obstetric and sexual health services. Growing up in a small town she has lived experience of the difficulties accessing healthcare in rural and regional areas, and is dedicated to advocating for equitable health outcomes regardless of geography.

Louise is also a Board Director of the Rural Doctors’ Association of Victoria.

BAppSci GradDipBus MBus GAICD FIML

John Biviano is an experienced senior executive who has held many senior roles in government (Health Dept) and also in professional associations related to healthcare. Until recently, John was the CEO of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, where he oversaw the digitisation of a range of Member offerings, including aspects of training. 

BA (Politics/Philosophy) BEc GDipBus MBA GAICD FGIA

Roger is an accomplished CEO, Non-Executive Director and Chair with experience in the health, human services, law enforcement, education, transport, and environmental industries – across private, public sector and not-for-profit organisations

.He brings strong governance experience, commercial acumen, risk management and strategy skills combined with a passion for innovation and business development having also been Chair of numerous Finance, Audit, Risk, Investment and Community Advisory Committees.


Assoc Prof Phelps has practiced as a Gastroenterologist and Acute Physician in regional Victoria for more than 20 years.

He trained in safety and quality at Dr Brent James’ Institute at Intermountain Healthcare in the US and has held management and leadership roles in Victoria and Tasmania. More recently he completed a two-year project as Director of Clinical Governance for Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

Grant currently works as an independent consultant providing advice to hospitals and organisations on clinical leadership and safety and quality

LLB BSc MMgt (Strategic Foresight) GAICD

As a lawyer and business consultant Jane has worked with company boards and senior management across a range of areas including IP commercialisation, internet-based businesses, healthcare products/services, privacy and data/IT security. Jane is currently general counsel for .id Consulting – population demographers, economists and forecasters.

Jane served as a director of BreastScreen Victoria for 10 years, is a current director of Ballarat Health Services and chairs RWAV’s Governance Committee.

BMed MMedSci FRACGP FARGP FACRRM DipPractDerm DipMedHyp DipFP DipBusAdmin GAICD

Assoc Prof Rawlin is an experienced General Practitioner and medical educator. He is currently in clinical general practice in suburban Melbourne and previously practiced in rural Victoria for 10 years.

Assoc Prof Rawlin is Chair of the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaborative and a past Chair of the Mental Health Professionals Association and is a board member of the Mental Health Professionals Network. He is also the Medical Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Victoria.
He is a member of the RACGP Victoria Council.

Albert Giorgini is the Senior Advisor to CEO at RWAV.

As an experienced finance executive, with an extensive career in public transport and in the automotive and industrial gas sectors, Albert has honed his skills in driving financial performance improvements with a commercial and business transformation focus.

Through his strategic financial skills, Albert has demonstrated an exceptional capacity to lead and develop large teams in complex and changing environments to achieve the financial and regulatory requirements of the business. His extensive experience has given him a deep understanding of the industry and its challenges, equipping him with the expertise to drive impactful change.

Albert has highly developed communication and stakeholder management skills to support his strong planning, analytical and financial performance improvement acumen, always striving to create innovative solutions that drive growth and success.


Lauren commenced in the role of Manager People and Culture in August 2018 and is responsible for leading the implementation of RWAV’s People and Culture strategy, policies, processes, functions and team.

Lauren’s team is committed to implementing activities and initiatives to support the achievement of RWAV’s strategies and strengthen RWAV’s position as an ‘Employer of Choice’.

Lauren is an experienced Manager and HR professional, with a career spanning the professional services, automotive, defence, and not-for-profit sectors.

BHlthSci(Hons) MPH PostGradDipMgt GAICD AFCHSM

Lauren Cordwell commenced in the role of Chief Executive Officer in August 2023. She took on the role of Acting CEO in April 2023 and previously served as the General Manager since February 2020.
Lauren has leadership responsibilities for strategy, communications, data, stakeholder engagement and program delivery.

Lauren’s team is committed to supporting communities in rural and regional Victoria to have timely access to affordable and safe health care.

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