Opportunity for growth
Published at: 24 Jul 2020
DURING THE PAST THREE YEARS, THE GV HEALTH AND GV HEALTH FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM HAS EXPANDED TO OFFER ALMOST 20 STAFF SCHOLARSHIPS TO ENGAGE IN FURTHER TRAINING. THE PROGRAM WOULD NOT RUN WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF GENEROUS DONORS.
Nurses and midwives at GV Health will receive further training due to the healthcare service’s scholarship program.
The GV Health and GV Health Foundation Scholarship Program began three years ago, according to GV Health Director of Nursing and Midwifery Education Cathy Scott, when just three scholarships were awarded to staff.
This year saw 17 recipients receive funding to extend their training, with all staff also committing to continuing their careers at GV Health.
“There are so many benefits to our patients by enhancing our workforce capabilities, creating a highly skilled workforce,” Ms Scott said.
GV Health Foundation chair Ross McPherson explained how the program evolved in recent years.
“This is our third year after we ramped up the program into something more formal,” he said.
“It had previously been largely unstructured but, with LaTrobe University starting to offer post-graduate nursing specialties in Shepparton, it was thought a really useful way to help our staff upskill.
“Rapidly, from just three at the beginning, we now have 17.
“At up to $5000 per scholarship, it is an amount that appeals to people who would like to assist the hospital or express their appreciation for the care they or members of their family have received in a very constructive way.”
With nurses and midwives making up at least half of the GV Health workforce, Ms Scott said it was important to upskill these staff in order to improve patient outcomes for the community.
This was reiterated by GV Health Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Kellie Thompson.
“These scholarships are crucial in supporting our local nurses and midwives to gain further skills to provide quality healthcare to our community,” she said.
The funding for the scholarships was generously donated by various community groups and organisations.
Bendigo Bank Shepparton branch manager David D’Elia said the organisation donated $5000 to the program, using the bank’s GV Connected Communities grants program.
“We’ve supported the hospital for a long time, and we thought it would be a good idea to provide training for employees,” he said.
While it was the first time the branch had donated funding for a scholarship, Mr D’Elia said it had provided funds for equipment and assisted in other ways.
Similarly, Rotary Club of Shepparton South’s Phil Squires said the club had also supported the hospital for a long time through its annual charity golf day.
“Back in February we held our golf day with the support of our major sponsors and the local community,” he said.
Mr Squires said it was a crucial time to support GV Health due to the ongoing medical needs of the growing community as well as the expansion of the health service’s Graham St campus.
Also a regular donor to GV Health, Soroptimist International of Shepparton Inc. usually donates to the Peter Copulos Cancer & Wellness Centre.
This year, its donations extended to include the scholarship program.
“We’re all local people, so us and our families are always going to need the hospital,” member Margaret Webster said.
“Our mantra is to support women and children, so this is a great way to do so.”
Among the donors was the Mooroopna Base Hospital and Goulburn Valley Base Hospital Graduates Association – a group made up of nurses who were trained at the old hospital facilities.
“We used to run the kiosk here at Graham St, so the funding came from a hangover of that,” member Anne Lawer said.
“We also hold an annual meeting, so some funds came from that too.”
The association wanted to support a nurse in aged care in particular.
GV Health Foundation trustee Graham Hofmeyer said it was fantastic to see the support of the community.
“Without this support, we wouldn’t be able to deliver what we do,” he said.
Also representing company Kavant, Mr Hofmeyer said they wanted to support the growing need for nurses in the Goulburn Valley.
GV Health@ Community Health Divisional Director of Primary Care Julyan Howard said they were fortunate to use $5000 donated by Bunnings earlier this year to create two scholarships at Community Health.
“There will be one for Allied Health and one for post-graduate nursing to basically support ongoing learning in the community setting,” he said.
Mr McPherson said there was no better example than the current COVID-19 pandemic to demonstrate the importance of upskilling healthcare staff.
“(During COVID-19) medical staff have quickly learned from each other’s experience and how to give better treatment to afflicted patients, and it shows in the results.
“Having our nursing staff equipped with the latest knowledge and therapies is the aim; this training is not inexpensive and often beyond the means of nursing staff with family commitments – these scholarships are such a powerful contribution.
“We encourage interested community members to call us.”