WIMMERA nurse Katie Ramsdale returned from HESTA Aged Care Awards feeling like a winner.
The Rural Northwest Health cognitive rehabilitative therapist was one of five finalists in the Individual Distinction Category.
Winners were announced at an awards ceremony at Hilton on the Park in Melbourne on Tuesday last week.
Ms Ramsdale returned to work on Wednesday with a crystal trophy and widespread praise.
"It didn't matter that I didn't win it, because I still felt like a winner," she said.
"It was an honour to be there."
Political commentator and entertainer Wendy Harmer emceed the ceremony, while comedy act Tripod provided the entertainment.
Ms Ramsdale said the only reward she signed up for when she started the job was helping others.
"I am passionate about what I do and the people I work with," she said.
Rural Northwest Health innovations and continuous improvement manager Wendy Walters nominated Ms Ramdsale for the award for her innovative work and fundraising.
Ms Ramsdale has raised more than $22,000 for the Wattle Crescent memory support unit.
She started a lolly shop run by Yarriambiack Lodge residents living with dementia, and arranged for residents to help out at Warracknabeal Kindergarten.