For the third year running, the awards and scholarship event recognised talented nursing students at a ceremony that is increasing in size every year. This year the event saw almost 100 staff and students gather to honour the achievements of another round of outstanding scholars.
In her opening remarks, Professor Donna Waters, Dean and Head of Sydney Nursing School, conveyed the School’s congratulations to the recipients and acknowledged the contribution of donors.
We greatly appreciate the generosity of the organisations, individuals and families who share our passion for health and health care and who have made these awards possible
Three award recipients shared their stories of how the scholarships have or will impact their careers.
Kai has been a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Cardiothoracic ICU for the past 10 years. Over this time, she observed the increasing number of patients of Chinese ethnicity having open-heart surgery – who are often considered to have a lower risk of heart disease.
Through her research Kai discovered that Chinese Australians have a 40-70 per cent higher mortality rate in the 30 days after an acute cardiac event, compared to their Caucasian and South Asian counterparts.
She also uncovered that those who migrated to Australia at a younger age were more likely to be overweight or obese and more likely to have diabetes.
Poor health literacy and lack of culturally-specific health information in Chinese languages are some of the barriers to cardiovascular health.
The Skellern scholarship has had a significant impact on Kai’s financial wellbeing and allowed her to focus fully on her research, the benefits of which can be seen through her substantial research progress.
Bernice recently graduated from the Master of Nursing program at Westmead Hospital and is currently a new graduate in the perioperative program at Royal North Shore Hospital in anaesthetics.
She was able to complete her final placement in Ho Chi Minh City at a large Children’s Hospital in the departments of ED, NICU, infectious diseases and oncology and haematology.
Here, she learnt the value of non-verbal communication and the importance of purely observing clinical signs and symptoms in a patient.
Patient load in Vietnam can consist of up to 180 patients on each ward, Bernice witnessed the resourcefulness of the local health professionals who use equipment wisely and minimise waste.
Bernice valued the importance of family care in Ho Chi Minh, where the majority of people die at home, compared to in Australia where most people die in hospitals.
This occurrence reflects how values and attuites play a huge part in how health systems are constructed to meet the needs of society.
Eliza is a Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies) student at Sydney Nursing School and her goal is to work in aged care, health promotion and/or emergency medicine.
Eliza has a unique background and a strong maternal grounding in nursing. Her grandmother was a nurse in Australia and Papua New Guinea in WWII, and her mother was a registered nurse for nearly 40 years.
Growing up around these women created a longing to provide care for those in need. She has one brother with a learning disability and another with a chronic illness which has allowed her to experience the impact that health professionals have on patients.
Recently, Eliza was involved in a local community drug action team to increase knowledge of drug and alcohol use. This involved teaching year 11 students basic first aid and breath testing young people at a festival so that they could make informed decisions.
It is easy to see that Eliza will utilise the opportunity the scholarship has given her. She plans to continue volunteering at a community level and is grateful to the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation for acknowledging the important role nurses play in Australia.
There are numerous scholarships available at the Sydney Nursing School ranging in value from $2,500 to $87,500.