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Clinicians afforded scholarship opportunities

2 May 2013   Nurses Alison Slinn, Anne Neeve, Renee Boyd, Sharon Boxall and Vanessa Gardner all have one thing in common.  They each have had the opportunity to undertake postgraduate study, thanks to our donors and supporters.

“Our medical, nursing, allied health and counselling professionals are afforded opportunities to apply for a scholarship each year to undertake postgraduate studies.  This can help enhance their skills and expertise in their area of current clinical practice,” explains Mark Cockayne, Silver Chain Group, General Manager Health (WA), who oversees the scholarships. “And, it is with the help of our donors and supporters, scholarships are available as a contribution towards course fees to support our clinicians to reach their career goals.”

Alison, who is a Clinical Practice Consultant in South Australia, completed a Masters of Applied Gerontology and says she is committed to lifelong learning. “I believe it is always good to ensure you maintain current practice and continue to learn in a directed manner.

“The scholarship assisted me in paying the course fees of two modules, which formed part of the nurse practitioners course and were particularly pertinent to my role and enabled me to complete a Masters.

“The Masters course has helped me to stay up to date and informed of best practice in care of the older person, as well as long term, chronic disease management and palliative care.  I am able to mentor and support my colleagues as I am able to pass on my newly acquired knowledge and skills to the team who work with me,” says Alison.  “I would like to think my learning has added value to the whole organisation.”

Anne, who works in the Perth metropolitan area and is a Case Co-ordinator for Hospital at Home, is currently studying a Masters of Nursing, with the financial support of a scholarship she was awarded.

“One of the greatest benefits of undertaking further study has been the ability for me to expand my knowledge and the experiences I have gained in the 20 plus years I have been working as a registered nurse.

“The course, so far, has allowed me to explore new avenues of learning and gain a deeper understanding and confidence within my current position,” says Anne. 

An Occupational Therapist in South Australia, Renee received a scholarship to enable her to undertake a Driver Assessment and Rehabilitation course. 

“The financial assistance enabled me to undertake the course and gave me the nudge that I needed to take the leap of faith and go back to university,” says Renee.  “It really was an opportunity for personal, professional and community growth, as well as giving me an opportunity to have a positive impact on our community.” 

The course enabled Renee to gain valuable knowledge and develop skills to assist people to return driving, learn to drive differently and/or reaffirm that driving is no longer a safe occupation for them. 

“I too have gained many practical skills having undertaken further study,” adds Sharon, a Clinical Nurse Specialist who supports the Wheatbelt, Midwest and Goldfields regions of Western Australia and is currently studying a Masters of Wound Care by coursework program through Monash University – the only Masters in Wound Care program in Australia! 

“The course, which provides best practice and up to date evidence based wound care education, cannot be undertaken in Western Australia, consequently, to my knowledge not many Western Australians hold this qualification,” explains Sharon. 

Sharon provides wound care education and advice to staff from Carnarvon to Kalgoorlie to Narrogin and last year had the opportunity to teach wound care in Tanzania! 

“It is therefore important that these isolated practitioners have access to the best available knowledge.  It is very important to me, my staff and clients that my knowledge base is sound,” says Sharon.

“I too think it’s invaluable to ensure I keep my knowledge current and want to ensure that the care I provide is evidence based,” says Vanessa, who is a Clinical Nurse in Perth supporting the Hospital at Home Program.  “I am currently completing a Postgraduate Diploma of Nursing, which may lead to completing a Masters of Nursing and the units I have so far completed have enhanced my leadership and critical thinking skills.” 

Silver Chain Group is about helping people.  Not only do we care for our clients, we are also committed to providing a supportive learning environment for our people.

“For us, it’s important to help our staff build a rewarding career and reach their full potential,” says Mark.  “Being a part of our team, a range of training options are available as well as the scholarship program for our clinicians to help them further develop the skills and knowledge to succeed in their roles.” 

We are very fortunate to have people like Alison, Anne, Renee, Sharon and Vanessa be part of our team who are passionate about updating their skills and knowledge so they can provide the best possible care to our clients.  And, it is with thanks to our donors and supporters, we can ensure our scholarship program can assist many more staff members to do the same.