Award recipient humbled by accolade
Former Network chairperson Kirsty Murrell-McMillan is the recipient of the
2012 Peter Snow Memorial Award.
The accolade was announced at the New Zealand Rural General Practice
Network’s annual conference held recently in Queenstown.
A Southland-based rural nurse specialist, Kirsty was nominated under the
“Innovation or Service” category, which recognises her “outstanding service to
rural general practice and to rural communities for many years, and her
endless enthusiasm and drive in nursing and education”.
The Peter Snow Memorial Award was set up to honour the life and work of Dr
Peter Snow who passed away in March 2006.
“I am humbled to receive the Peter Snow Memorial Award. The Dr Peter Snow
I knew was a unique and highly principled practitioner for whom I had great
“I thank my husband and my colleagues for being the inspiration and drive
behind my work. I need to acknowledge that it was my husband who lured me
back to working in rural Southland and took me, through his work, to live and
to work in remote areas in New Zealand such as Te Anau and two years in rural
Africa. My personal drive was to be well prepared vocationally for joining my
husband in more remote areas, as he was transferred with his job in
“On my journey as a rural nurse, I believe that my rural nurse colleagues and I
recognised the need to legitimise rural nursing practice, to prepare and
educate the next generation of nurses to be able to work rurally and that they
have specific training to prepare them for the diversity of work experienced by
“But in particular, I believe that rural nurse practitioners are needed in rural
areas. My dream has been that nurse practitioners working in rural areas
would face less barriers and greater acceptance in providing continuity of care
to rural communities. This is because I believe that rural nurses have been the
back bone in providing continuity of care in many areas especially where areas
are medically underserved.”
Kirsty spent her early years growing up in Manapouri, where her family has
resided for six generations. She is a graduate from the University of Sydney
with a Masters in Rural and Remote Nursing. She has taught rural nursing at
both under graduate and post graduate levels in Southland and Otago Schools
of Nursing. She now teaches at the Dunedin School of Medicine, Department
of General Practice and Rural Health and is working to establish Invercargill as
a learning centre in general practice.
Kirsty was instrumental in merging the Rural Nurses’ National Network with
the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network Board; served on the Board
for a number of years and is immediate past Chair of the Network. She was
the first nurse to hold this role for a general practice organisation
She is a Trustee for the Pat Farry Rural Education Trust; was a member of the
Southern PHO transition board and Inaugural Nurse Trustee for the Southern
Kirsty was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2012
New Year’s Honours for services to nursing. She is passionate about promoting
the team working within general practice and in particular provision of health
care to rural communities.
WELL-EARNED: Last year’s Peter Snow Award recipient Dr Martin London
presents Kirsty with the 2012 award.
About the award
Dr Peter Snow was a rural general practitioner based in Tapanui. As well as
caring for his patients Peter was Past-President of the Royal New Zealand
College of General Practitioners and was a member of the Otago Hospital
Board and District Health Board. He was enthusiastic and active in seeking
knowledge to improve the health and safety of rural communities. His work
contributed to the identification of the chronic fatigue syndrome and he was
influential in raising safety awareness on issues related to farming accidents.
Previous winners include:
Inaugural winner Dr Ron Janes (2007)
Nurse Jean Ross and Dr Pat Farry (2008 – jointly awarded)
Dr Garry Nixon (2009)
Dr Tim Malloy (2010)
Dr Martin London (2011)
Rural Nurse Specialist Kirsty Murrell-McMillan (2012).