CHA, ACU award grants for professional development

Catholic Health Australia and Australian Catholic University last week awarded a second round of 10 grants of $2,500 each for professional development for nurses and midwives working in Catholic hospitals, taking to $50,000 the total investment in a program launched last year.

In September, the two organisations announced the launch of the Nurse and Midwifery Unit Managers Development Program. The grants were established in response to the 2010 publication of the CHA Nurse and Midwifery Project report, which recommended a focus on providing professional development options for senior nurses and midwives.

Australian Catholic University dean of health sciences Professor Michelle Campbell said ACU, which is a training ground for tomorrow's nurses, also sees the importance of nurses already in the workforce being able to learn new skills from other health care facilities.

"We at Australian Catholic University recognise the unique place of the Catholic health care ministry and know that there is much knowledge to be shared within the Catholic health community," Professor Campbell said.

"We are proud of the ground-breaking work that is being carried out in Catholic hospitals and aged care facilities across Australia, so to be able to facilitate nurses and midwives in learning from their colleagues in other Catholic facilities is a very worthwhile program."

Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty said he was grateful for the generosity of Australian Catholic University in funding the grant program.

"Less than two weeks ago, a report was released forecasting a shortage of nearly 110,000 nurses in Australia by 2025," Mr Laverty said. "The health and aged care community needs to find ways to recruit and retain staff, and helping nurses and midwives to learn new skills from like-minded organisations is one small – but significant – way to keep them engaged in the important work they do."

The 10 recipients who will receive professional development following the awarding of grants last week are: Dean Bennett, St Vincent's Private Hospital, Fitzroy; Ian Campbell, Cabrini Health; Annette Dahler, Calvary Healthcare ACT; Anita Hoy, Mercy Hospital Mt Lawley; Julie Nicholls, St John of God Hospital, Subiaco; Emilia Palatroni, St John of God Hospital, Subiaco; Judy Rands, Calvary Healthcare Riverina; Lucille Ridley, Mercy Hospital Mt Lawley; Philippa Stevenson, Calvary John James Hospital; and Kelly Trudgen, Calvary Healthcare ACT.

The recipients will use the grants to visit a range of health care facilities, including stroke units, cardiac services, home health services and orthopaedic wards. Other recipients will conduct research, carry out benchmarking exercises and undertake additional study.

"These grants cover a broad range of activities, but we know they will all improve the ability of the nurses and midwives – and, therefore, their facilities – to deliver a better service to those for whom they care," Professor Campbell said.

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