Alumni Newsletter – November 2011
- Dean's address
- Nursing graduate Erin Law Recipient of the Edward Barton Medal
- Birthing Kit Packing Day – Calling For Volunteers
- Do you know about our research at Sydney Nursing School?
- New alumni graduating in Singapore
- Strategies for improving CPAP use: What does and doesn't work
- Results of our alumni competition
- Finding alumni
As we come to closer to the end of the 2011 academic year, we celebrate the efforts and achievements of our graduating students. We also welcome these students as the newest members of our alumni community. For only a few short years we have them as students of the Faculty, yet forever they will be a valued part of our alumni community. A very warm welcome to these new alumni.
It has indeed been a very busy and productive year. We started the year by announcing our intention to introduce a new Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies) program in 2012 and now I can proudly say that we have transformed this dream into reality. In late September we were absolutely delighted to receive the news that the Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies) curriculum was accredited by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council Board for five years, without conditions. And as we go to press with this newsletter we have also been informed that the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has approved the program. The response from prospective students choosing this program has already been very positive with many recent and non-recent school leavers putting the program high in their list of preferences. So we are very much looking forward to welcoming a healthy cohort of students to this new and innovative program in 2012. This is a fantastic outcome and a credit to everyone involved in getting this proposal over the line. And what great news that the University of Sydney can now offer an advanced studies Bachelor of Nursing program to undergraduate students!
You may remember that Professor Mary Chiarella and I were successful in winning an International Program Development Fund grant to conduct the second International Health Research and Policy Roundtable (the first having been held here in Sydney in 2009). We had planned to hold the second roundtable in London. Ultimately, however, we were invited by the Canadian Nurses’ Association to hold it in Canada, in conjunction with their National Expert Commission: “The health of our nation: the future of our health system”. The joint meeting was held on 2628 September in Ottawa, also supported by the Office of the Chief Nurse of Canada Sandra McDonald-Rencz. It was a terrific meeting and I am confident that we are making real progress towards developing an international mechanism for having nurses become more politically aware and policy able in order to contribute better to national policy making.
Following the International Health Research and Policy Roundtable Mary and I were invited to speak at the Alumni weekend at Yale University in New Haven at the invitation of Professor Donna Diers and the Dean of the Yale School of Nursing, Margaret Grey. As a diabetes expert I hope Margaret will visit us next year and perhaps contribute to nursing’s collaboration on the Centre for Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.
In the last few months we have welcomed many prospective students and alumni to Sydney Nursing School. At Open Day on 27 August I personally found the energy, enthusiasm and optimism of school leavers considering a future career in nursing very, very inspiring. In October we opened our doors to prospective postgraduate students for our Postgraduate Information Evening. It was fantastic to welcome so many nurses and midwives considering postgraduate studies across our specialty programs and higher research degrees. And I’m delighted that so many of our alumni have responded positively to our call to participate in the life of Sydney Nursing School.
I wish you all the very best over the festive season.
Warm regards, Jill White
In the 155 years since the University of Sydney conferred its first degrees, Sydney graduates have changed the world by governing countries, making transformational scientific and medical breakthroughs and exploring the furthest stretches of the earth and how we understand it. At the annual Alumni Awards on 28 October 2011, the University recognised alumni who have pioneered neuroscience techniques, improved food security in developing countries, and inspired young people from low socio-economic areas of Sydney to engage in tertiary study.
In welcoming guests to the Alumni Awards in the University’s Great Hall, Dr Spence said the 2011 recipients embody the University’s tradition of “passion, and consistent and unrelenting commitment to making a difference”.
He told attendees, “Our alumni tradition is one of which we are extremely proud. It’s a remarkably glorious tradition.” Sydney Nursing School was obviously thrilled when Nursing alumna Erin Law (MN 2011) was honoured with the the Edmund Barton Medal for Master’s by Coursework Achievement. This is a great honour for Erin and fantastic recognition for nurses within the University of Sydney’s alumni community and their contribution to making a world of difference.
Erin typifies the kind of Sydney Nursing School graduate who we hope will go on to make significant contributions to health care. While a student at Sydney Nursing School she was placed on the Dean’s list of excellence in academic performance in 2009 and was active as a student representative to faculty and academic boards.
Erin is also extremely passionate about global health. In 2010, she won the Women’s Plans Foundation Award which is given to a student with a demonstrated interest in global health and an understanding of the role of family planning in women’s development in developing countries. In 2011, she was awarded the Hoc Mai Foundation Scholarship to enable her to undertake an additional clinical placement in Vietnam, working with trauma patients in an emergency department. Erin is now working in Darwin at the Royal Darwin Hospital undertaking a Paediatric rotation as part of her New Graduate program.
Each year an estimated 500,000 new mothers die in developing countries due to complications during childbirth. Infection is a major contributor to these frightening mortality rates. Birthing Kits contain the essentials for creating a hygienic birthing environment for new mothers, reducing the risk of infection and potentially saving many thousands of lives. On 7 December, Sydney Nursing School staff, students and alumni hosted a Birthing Kit Packing Day. Volunteers packed around 5000 birthing kits which will be sent to help new mothers in Papua New Guinea.
Sydney Nursing School has a vision to be the premier research-intensive nursing and midwifery school in Australia with a reputation for high quality, internationally recognised excellence in research. We value the development of a strong research community of staff and students and encourage cross-disciplinary and collaborative research. The adoption of the name ‘Sydney Nursing School’ in 2009 was indicative of the closer relationship Sydney Nursing School has fostered with other University of Sydney health faculties, in particular Sydney Medical School and the School of Public Health.
But our Faculty encompasses the disciplines of both nursing and midwifery, with valuable research contributions from the Midwifery and Women’s Health Nursing Research Unit based at the Royal Hospital for Women at Randwick, and from the dedicated team at the Cancer Nursing Research Unit based at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Our relationship with other University of Sydney faculties, state and federal health services and international partners across Asia, Canada, the US, UK and New Zealand presents many opportunities for our research students to prepare for a global future in health research and enhances our common vision to improve health and wellbeing. With a third of our PhD students living outside Sydney, and a quarter outside Australia – we have truly moved into international heath.
Sydney Nursing School is in a strong position as part of an interprofessional learning, research and practice environment. Our research strategy encompasses the broader national health priorities while focussing the endeavours of academic staff and research students on innovative and creative research and cross disciplinary collaboration.
Left: Adjunct Associate Professor Helen Gunn, Director of Nursing, Royal Hospital for Women, Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer (CNMO), NSW Health, Professor Jill White, Dean Sydney Nursing School, Margaret Martin, Sydney Nursing School Representative on the University of Sydney Alumni Council, Professor Mary Chiarella, Professor in Nursing, Sydney Nursing School, Relaunch of Midwifery and Women’s Health Nursing Research Unit
Affiliation, collaboration and partnership
Sydney Nursing School welcomes opportunities to collaborate with our community of patients, clients and families, other health professionals and health service providers. We are proud to offer support and partnership to our academic and professional teams engaged in nationally competitive research projects conducted within the clinical setting and look forward to many more multidisciplinary collaborations over the coming years.
In September a fabulous graduation ceremony was held for our off-shore Bachelor of Nursing (Post-registration) students in Singapore.
The Bachelor of Nursing (Post-registration) is offered by Sydney Nursing School in partnership with Singapore Institute of Management Pte Ltd (SIMPL). Sydney Nursing School’s Professor Jill White, Dr Heather McKenzie, Associate Professor Maureen Boughton, Stuart Newman, Dr Murray Fisher and Dr John Grootjans attended the graduation. Professor John Hearne, DVC (International) also attended and we were very pleased to have Dr Yen Yen Chia (Deputy Director of KK Women and Children’s hospital, Singapore and one of our PhD graduates) join the academic procession. Yen Yen was also the invited guest speaker for the University of Sydney Reception Alumni event on 8 September, at which she gave a very inspiring address.
Deputy Chancellor Alan Cameron AO presided at the ceremony and admitted 92 students into the degree. Kwek Puay Ee, Director of Nursing, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore delivered the occasional address. She recounted her personal academic journey that commenced 10 years ago when she was a student in the 15th intake of the University of Sydney’s Bachelor of Health Sciences (Nursing) in 2000.
“The timing of the degree was just right as the new knowledge and information gained facilitated/enhanced my new role as the Director of Nursing in 2001 and the management of the SARS situation at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in 2003. I have no regrets that I opted for this program instead of others. The academic knowledge gained from the enlightened teaching staff was excellent. You have made the right choice in choosing to do your degree here with SIM-University of Sydney.”
Ms Kwek mentioned several challenges for the future of nursing in Singapore and which are reflected in the Bachelor of Nursing (Post-registration) program, such as communication, practice standards, development of multidisciplinary teams, use of evidence in practice and embracing technologies. She encouraged the graduates to “see every challenge as an opportunity", referring to the Chinese saying 'Wei Ji' (wei crisis, and ji opportunities), meaning that for every crisis there are opportunities to be found.
Three students were recognised by SIMPL for their outstanding academic achievement throughout the course. The gold medal was awarded to Chua Ah Keok, silver to Judy Lek Soh Hoon and bronze to Ling Yan Peng Melissa. Eleven of the cohort achieved a distinction average and were awarded their degree with Merit.
Congratulations to all the 2011 Singapore graduates. We hope you look back on this day as a wonderful occasion and a fantastic achievement.
On Wednesday 26 October, Sydney Nursing School was delighted to host Dr Terri Weaver who is recognised nationally and internationally for her research on the effect of daytime sleepiness on daily behaviours and assessment of treatment outcomes. Dr Weaver’s lecture ‘Strategies for improving CPAP use: What does and doesn’t work’ was very well attended by Sydney Nursing School alumni as well as nurses in sleep units from Sydney hospitals.
In October Sydney Nursing School's alumni launched a competition to win a new Apple iPad. The competition involved telling us in 30 words or less what it means to be an alumni member of Sydney Nursing School and we had a wonderful response. We would like to congratulate our winner, Angela from Quakers Hill and our three runners up, Kathy from Baulkham Hills, Belinda from Little Bay and Vanessa from Pymble.
Thank you to everyone who entered the competition. All the entries were of a very high standard and our judging panel deliberated for quite a while!
We have a great line up of alumni events for 2012 including reunions, dinners and lectures. We know there are quite a few alumni with whom we've lost touch, after Cumberland College of Health Sciences merged with Sydney Nursing School. We would very much like to recognise these past students as alumni of Sydney Nursing School and invite them along to events. If you know anyone who may be one of our ‘lost alumni’ please encourage them to get in touch with us.