Rising Star finalist shines bright


Pictured: APNA President Karen Booth alongside Kasi at the awards

Although nurse Kasi Keeffe didn't take the top prize at the Rural Health Pro Awards her 'Health at Home' initiative sparkles in APNA's Building Nurse Capacity constellation.  

At the recent Rural Health Pro National Rural and Remote Health Awards held on Monday 13 November, one of the biggest success stories from APNA’s Building Nurse Capacity Program was a finalist in the Rising Star category.

Kasi Keeffe is a Registered Nurse and Credentialed Diabetes Educator at Wyalkatchem, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Perth and located on the traditional lands of the Ballardong Nyoongar people. She was nominated for the awards for her work building a nurse clinic that addressed a gap in primary health care in the small farming community. 

In 2022, Kasi observed that residents were missing out on vital health screening, health promotion, education and intervention due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. She was especially concerned about those residents living with long-term chronic diseases, including diabetes. 

So, she applied and was accepted to take part in APNA's Building Nurse Capacity Program, which supports nurses and nurse practitioners to develop nurse-delivered, team-based models of care, also known as nurse clinics. 

Her 'Health at Home' nurse clinic takes chronic disease management directly to her community by performing at-home health assessments.  

As lead nurse for the clinic, Kasi's focus is re-engaging with the community, building trust, 'giving power to the patients', and person-centred care.  

In particular, Kasi recognises the challenges that First Nations people with diabetes face and differences in access level to health care. She works hard to make sure the service she and her team deliver continues to meet the local population's health needs in a culturally safe manner. 


We asked Kasi to share her experience attending the awards and participating in the Building Nurse Capacity program.

"I attended the inaugural 2023 Rural Health Pro Awards as a finalist for the Rising Star Award at Parliament House Canberra. I was so nervous about going to the awards because I attended solo and also because of the beautiful imposter syndrome. 

As soon as I sat down and met the wonderful people on my table, I was instantly put at ease. It felt like speaking to people in my health care team. Hearing the inspirational stories about what everyone is doing in the rural health space was empowering, as was being around such amazing people.

Being shortlisted as a finalist was a big shock; I thought no way! What have I done that is beyond what anyone else would do? Only when I attended the awards and spoke to people about my nomination did I feel like I deserved my place. It was an honour enough to be nominated by APNA, but being recognised by Rural Health Pro was amazing.   

Being a part of the Building Nurse Capacity program has truly opened so many doors for me. From attending the awards to speaking with Karen Booth about working to a nurse's full scope and the future of rural and remote nursing, the challenges and achievements I have experienced whilst being a part of the program have increased my confidence, self-worth and drive for equity in health care across Australia.   

If you are considering the Building Nurse Capacity program, do it. No matter your experience, we need new ideas and new innovations. I would love to see a grad nurse involved in a clinic; I would have never had the confidence, but I just wish I had done it earlier!" 


If you have an idea for improving the health and well-being of your patients, just like Kasi, the next round of the Building Nurse Capacity Program is open for Expressions of Interest. 

Visit the Building Nurse Capacity page to learn more about the program and how to apply. 

Applications close on Friday 5 January 2024.

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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