2021 inductees - Tasmanian Nurses and Midwives Honour Roll
The judging panel are delighted to announce the inaugural inductees to the Tasmanian Nurses and Midwives Honour Roll. Inductees are listed alphabetically by surname. Please click on their names to learn more about their professional careers.
The achievements and contributions made by the inductees to the nursing and midwifery professions and our communities are simply outstanding. The inaugural inductees are an inspiration to current and future generations of nurses and midwives and showcase the opportunities available in these rewarding professions.
Diana Butler OAM
Diana Butler OAM was inspired to enter a nursing career by her mother and completed her nurse training in 1982 at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Diana spent the early years of her career working part-time, at a GP practice in Kings Meadows, whilst raising her three boys. Diana has provided nearly 40 years of service working in the Tasmanian Health Service. She is currently working at the Launceston General Hospital as After-Hours Nurse Manager.
While working as an Emergency Nurse in the Launceston General Hospital, in 2006 a chance conversation with a colleague about extreme poverty in Tanzania, Africa; inspired Diana Butler OAM to embark on a new journey of intense learning and fulfilment. Diana and a team of Emergency Nurses raised money and sent a shipping container of medical aid to Tarime, Tanzania.
Diana’s altruistic nature, passion for social justice and innate belief in respecting and empowering others led her to co-found Care for Africa Foundation with her colleague the late Dr Peter Hewitt in 2006. Diana is the Chief Executive Officer for the not-for-profit charity which advocates, in collaboration with the community, to address issues of poverty due to the lack water, education, medical, and enterprise services in Tanzania.
Diana has become astute at managing large teams of international volunteers, working at both a grassroots level and executive level, understanding best international development practices and fundraising. As the Chief Executive Officer Diana has shaped Care for Africa into a sustainable and pioneering organisation as well as an Australian Council for International Development accredited organisation (there are currently 130 members Australia wide).
Diana is a renowned public speaker, positive role model and fierce advocate for nursing. She has represented stakeholders at the World Health Organisation, Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs and the United Nations. Diana speaks on local and international platforms of the importance of nursing and how nurses contribute globally to the wellbeing of others.
Diana holds a Bachelor of Nursing (University of Tasmania), a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Nursing (University of Tasmania) and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).
In 2012, Diana was awarded the Tasmanian Telstra Business Women’s Community and Government award and was a national finalist.
In 2016, Diana was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her work as the Chief Executive Officer of Care for Africa and her service to the people of Tarime. In the same year, Diana was also awarded a Paul Harris Fellows for her work through Rotary. Care for Africa is a Registered Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) Program and Diana is a member of the Rotary Club of South Launceston.
Diana is a Director of St Giles Society Inc. and on the Risk and Audit Committee of the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians
To read more about Diana’s incredible career please visit:
 Care for Africa, https://www.careforafrica.org.au, accessed 30 April 2021.
Neroli’s early career commenced in Tasmania where she completed her training and later worked at the Royal Hobart Hospital and the Launceston General Hospital. Neroli's commitment and passion for improving the nursing and midwifery care led her to nominate as Branch Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian Branch (ANMF). In this role she continued her quest to support nurses and midwives in their professions and worked hard to improve the professions themselves.
Neroli held the position of ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary for almost 16 years, building the membership and influence of the ANMF from just over 800 members to over 8,000 during her tenure. Neroli tirelessly advocated and represented nursing and midwifery across all sectors during her career, both industrially and professionally, and during this period negotiated a 78% wage increase, the introduction of a workload model which resulted in funding for hundreds of new positions, and successfully lobbied politicians throughout the proposed amendments to the Poisons Act 1971 to mandate a minimum of one registered nurse, 24 hours a day in aged care.
Neroli was an active member of the ANMF Federal Executive and Federal Council, representing the interests of Tasmanian nurses and midwives and ensuring the views and opinions of these nurses and midwives were represented at the national level. In 2013 Neroli worked collaboratively with all other ANMF branches across Australia to secure an Aged Care Compact, which aims to assist with the retention and recruitment of nurses working in Aged Care.
Neroli recognised the need for the nursing and midwifery professions to continually evolve and opened the ANMF Health Education and Research Centre (HERC) in 2013, a Registered Training Organisation with a continuing professional development and research focus.
Neroli is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, a Tasmanian Leadership Program Champion for over 10 years, and she has completed a Master in Business (University of South Australia). She has received numerous awards including a Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award, she was also a finalist in the Tasmanian division of the Australian of the Year, was a recipient of the Gerdi Jevtic Award for prominent Fahan School alumni and was inducted into the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women in 2019.
Neroli is the Deputy President of the Tasmanian Industrial Commission. She belongs to a number of community organisations and has represented Tasmania in the Australian Masters Rowing Championships.
 Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women, accessed 30 April 2021.
Colonel Nell Espie AM (Posthumous)
Nellie Jane (Nell) Espie was born in Oatlands in 1924, as one of five girls and saw firsthand the impact of war with her father a veteran of World War I. Nell was inspired to begin her nursing/military career by nurses leaving the hospitals to join up for World War II.
Nell completed her general nurse training at the Royal Hobart Hospital in 1942 and went on to complete obstetrics and child health training. In 1951 Nell joined the army as a commissioned Lieutenant. What followed was 30 years of an incredible military career with Nell achieving the rank of Director of Army Nursing and Matron in Chief of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps (RAANC). Nell’s overseas posting included Japan, Korea, Malaya, and South Vietnam. In Australia Nell served in camp and military hospitals, medical centres, and army apprentice school.
Caring was intrinsic to Nell’s nature. Nell finished her training in 1945 in an era when penicillin was not available. She spent hours with patients and their families providing basic care and caring about people. Nell has promoted health, the prevention of illness, restoration of health and the alleviation of suffering. Whether it was administering basic care in her first role as a nursing sister at the Wingfield Crippled Children’s Hospital or on deployment in a military zone overseas. As a serving woman overseas Nell was exposed to the same traumas and life threatening experiences as the battle troops. Injured soldiers from the battlefield would arrive by helicopter with loaded grenades and weapons being carried to the field hospital in South Vietnam within 10 minutes of action.
Nell is acclaimed to be the most distinguished Tasmanian (or possibly Australian) nurse since World War II. In the RAANC she obtained the rank of Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel Director of Nursing Services – Army, Queens Honorary Sister, Honorary Colonel and Representative Honorary Colonel. Nell’s extraordinary leadership and military service was recognised with the Army conferring many awards to her during her career.
When service men and women speak of Nell it is with reverence. They salute Nell for the legacy she has provided for their military history and for her service. Nell has been honoured in Australia with the awarding of National and Royal Red Cross Medals. She was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia and received a Centenary Medal in 2001. In 2006 Nell was inducted into the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women for her service to health and veterans.
Nell could have retired anywhere; she came back to her hometown of Oatlands and continued to be a dynamo. Nell maintained her service to the nursing profession and the Tasmanian community; she established a state branch of the RAANC Association serving as both the National President and was appointed a Life Member in 1997. Nell was the powerhouse behind many committees including the Florence Nightingale Trust, the College of Nursing Australia State Committee and for her work with veterans.
Catherine was born in the United Kingdom, where she undertook her hospital-based mental health nurse training before emigrating to Australia in 1996. Since then she has been living and working in Australia, becoming an Australian Citizen in 1998 and travelling frequently between the two countries.
In Australia, she continued to expand her knowledge, graduating from a Bachelor Degree in Applied Science (Nursing) from Sydney University in 1993, and completing further qualifications in Management, Human Resource Management, and Forensic Behavioural Science. The completion of her Master Degree in Nursing in 2005 saw her registered as the first Tasmanian Nurse Practitioner.
Soon after arriving in Sydney, she worked as the only clinician on one of Sydney’s first needle and syringe programs. This work gave her an immense regard for peer workers and the importance of ensuring that when health care is provided the input from those with lived experience is fundamental.
Throughout the Tasmanian health sector, in both the government and non-government divisions Catherine is well known and well regarded. In 2006 Catherine was appointed as the inaugural manager for Tasmania’s first dedicated forensic mental health facility. In 2008, she relocated to the north of Tasmania for a period of 4 years and worked as a Strategic Nurse Coordinator and led significant reform of local mental health services. In both roles, Catherine’s main focus was the development of a person-centred culture of inclusion, the least restrictive practice and the upholding of consumer rights.
During her time as the Strategic Nurse Coordinator, she was also the lead clinician on the Beacon Project, a national initiative to reduce and where possible eliminate restrictive practices in mental health settings, work she has continued to promote by becoming an advocate for Safewards in Tasmania and leading the community of practice established for this purpose. She was also instrumental in leading the work to establish all Tasmanian public mental health facilities as smoke-free environments.
From 2012-2019 she was a member of the National Mental Health Online Development Expert Reference Group which provided content advice and review for an online education platform for all mental health clinicians.
She served as the chair of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses 2008-2010 and remains a member of this organisation. In 2010, she was accepted into the Tasmanian Leaders program and following that, appointed to the Tasmanian Lead Clinicians group, 2012-2014, which provided advice to the Tasmanian Government on health service reform.
In 2018, Catherine was appointed as the Tasmanian representative on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) having previously served as the chair of the Tasmanian NMBA from 2010-2018.
Catherine is a passionate practice developer and works in a facilitative, person-centred way. She has been involved with the International Practice Development Collaborative (IPDC) since 2008, facilitating the 5-day immersive workshops, which focus on the development of workplace cultures in health that promote human flourishing for all. In 2012, she led the successful application for the Tasmanian Health Service (THS) to become a member of the IPDC, with both the THS and Catherine remaining involved to this day.
Catherine is also a past recipient of the Florence Nightingale awards and in 2019 she graduated from the International Council of Nursing’s Global Nurse Leadership Institute program. In 2020 Catherine became a regional facilitator for that program as it transferred to an online mode of delivery due to the pandemic. In 2021 Catherine was certified as a Global Nurse Consultant by the International Council of Nurses.
Catherine continues to influence practice through her work as a clinical advisor providing high-level strategic advice regarding contemporary mental health policy and clinical practice to government.