Support spotlight

Royal Freemasons Benevolent Institution Scholarships

Royal Freemasons Benevolent Institution and Sydney Nursing School share a common goal - to provide support to the ageing population to allow them to age with dignity and to cater for the special needs of the elderly.

In early 2015, the Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution Scholarship in Aged and Palliative Care will be offering support to two PhD scholars who want to make a difference to the future of elderly care. The two scholarships are valued at $30,000 per annum and represent a total contribution of $180,000 over three years.

In Australia today, the majority of people with dementia die in residential care and often in residential aged care settings. The latest estimates for dementia prevalence in Australia are approximately 332,000, a figure expected to more than triple by 2050. Recent reports suggest that people with dementia do not have adequate access to appropriate end of life care.

Thanks to these very special scholarships, both recipients will be directly involved in a key research project led by Associate Professor Yun-Hee Jeon (Sydney Nursing School) and Associate Professor Heather McKenzie (Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching), which specifically relates to the choice of elderly Australians with Dementia to stay at home at the end of their life and avoid unnecessary hospitalisation. It is hoped that the outcomes will develop evidence to inform policy and practice in this field of care.

The research project aims to address this gap in knowledge and access to appropriate care and services. It will explore the perspectives of bereaved family caregivers, looking at the care of their relative who chose to stay at home until the final stages of their illness. The research will investigate the challenges associated with the provision of end of life care for people dementia living at home, faced by their family caregivers.

To Apply for the Scholarship, click here.

Supporter spotlight: Skellern PHD Scholarship and Endowment fund

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A chance meeting in London in 2011 with Professor Jill White led David and Josephine Skellern to set up a scholarship and endowment fund to the value of $700,000. The funds assist mid-career nurses and midwives at Sydney Nursing School to undertake or complete a PhD.

“The chat with Jill got me thinking, and when we returned to Australia, we met with Jill and Daniel Martin [Development Officer at the Sydney medical and nursing schools], and settled on a scholarship as a useful way to contribute”, says Josephine Skellern. Josephine has a background in paediatrics and midwifery and maternal and child health, and studied nursing (GradDipNursEd ’79) at the (then) Cumberland College of Health Sciences, which became part of the University in 1990. She values nurses’ work as being of “vital importance to society”, and says, “I wanted to support postgraduate research. When it comes to caring for patients there needs to be a deeper pool of research to draw on.”

Her husband David, an academic and successful information and communications technology entrepreneur, recognised that “we need flexible scholarships to encourage the best students to maintain family life around their research – support to help pay the mortgage, and time to raise children. They are still not getting a fabulous income, but we’ve chosen a level that will be enough to tip the balance for some.”

Rebekah Olgilvie was the inaugural recipient of the Skellern PHD scholarship, which commenced in Semester 2, 2013. Rebekah's thesis topic was ‘Major traumatic injury in young people aged 16–24 years’.

Rebekah is a Trauma Nurse Practitioner with 18 years’ emergency nursing and trauma experience. Her role as Trauma Coordinator of the Shock Trauma Service at the Canberra Hospital is complex and often very challenging. Her significant contributions mean that Rebekah is very much the kind of nurse that the Skellerns had in mind with their support for a nursing and midwifery scholarship. She is a nurse and mother of six children, a sustainable living enthusiast with a very large vegetable garden and a handful of chooks to keep her busy.

Rebekah’s innovative mixed methods PhD study, the first of its kind nationally and internationally, will provide new understandings on the experience of major traumatic injury for young people, and the role of family in supporting them.

Sydney Nursing School thanks Josephine and David Skellern for their support.

Beth Spence Scholarship

Seashells Foundation

The Seashells Foundation has partnered with Sydney Nursing School at the University of Sydney, to develop the "Beth Spence Scholarship" in honour of the late Beth Spence. This scholarship is offered in perpetuity, and will be for a PhD student studying in the area of care coordination.

The Seashells Foundation is a community-based charity seeking to identify areas and projects that need help or encouragement. The foundation is named after a child-care group established by the founding family's late mother, the foundation aims to reflect the attitude of a close neighbourhood and provide everyone in Sydney with ability to access this care. The Seashells Foundation is focusing on the Nursing profession, mainly the area of training and education.

Merit prize for Postgraduate studies

Professor Jill White, Professor Kathy Dracup, Diana Hutchison, John Hutchison, Daniel Martin

Sydney Nursing School thanks donors John and Diana Hutchison who recently committed to establishing the first philanthropically-funded merit prize for students completing a Master of Nursing degree at Sydney Nursing School, the University of Sydney. The John and Diana Hutchison Merit Prize for Nursing awards the successful recipient $2500.

It was offered for the first time in Semester 2, 2013 with the intention for the prize to be offered in perpetuity.

The motivation behind this inspired act of generosity comes from the personal admiration John and Diana share for nurses through their own personal experiences. John, a graduate from the University of Sydney (Faculty of Arts), and Diana hope that their gift will serve as encouragement for others to support nurses and midwives and to provide extra motivation for postgraduate students to excel in their studies.

''We have always admired the dedication, professionalism and selflessness of nurses who are often unappreciated, especially financially. Having experienced hospital stays in recent years, our admiration is even greater. We hope awards such as this for excellence in postgraduate studies will reward recipients and encourage them to pursue studies and/or travel.” – John and Diana Hutchison.

The first scholarship recipient was Kelly Lewis who hopes to further her understanding and knowledge in the area of burn injury.