CHA, ACU award $20,000 in grants for professional development

Catholic Health Australia and Australian Catholic University this week awarded a round of eight grants of $2,500 each for professional development for nurses and midwives working in Catholic hospitals, reflecting a $20,000 investment in a program which was originally launched in 2011. 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 understands 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, and beyond," Professor Campbell said.

"Support for the ground-breaking work that is being carried out in Catholic hospitals and aged care facilities across Australia not only facilitates nurses and midwives in learning from their colleagues in other Catholic or like facilities, but also assists in retention of those nurses."

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

"The health workforce environment will face significant shortages into the future, as forecast by Health Workforce Australia – 110,000 shortage by 2025. Hence it is important to put in place not only relevant post-graduate courses, such that ACU offer, but to also partner with universities to ensure these valued nurses, with a wealth of experience, are retained and rewarded to remain within the health sector, " 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 recipients who will receive professional development following the awarding of grants this week are: Chris Allotta, Mater Adult Hospital Brisbane; Meaghan Mackenzie and Julie Elliott, St Vincent's Public Hospital Melbourne; Christine McShane and Angela Honeysett, St Vincent's Private Hospital, Melbourne; Kirsten Seletto, Andrea Rindt, Amanda Proposch and Clara Officer, Cabrini Health, Melbourne; Michelle Ainslie, Calvary Health Care Tasmania; Kelly Rawlings, St John of God Murdoch; Mark Heenan, Calvary Health Care Bethlehem, and; Joan Crystal, Mater Private Hospital Brisbane.

The recipients will use the grants to visit a range of health care facilities, including rehabilitation wards, preadmission clinics, neurosurgical and orthopaedic wards. Other recipients will attend international seminars, carry out benchmarking exercises, undertake additional study and attend a refugee health conference.

"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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