Staff upskilling through bursaries

Staff at East Grampians Health Service are improving their skills and qualifications thanks to generous bursaries offered by the EGHS Building for the Future Foundation.

The Foundation is a charitable trust established in 2010 with the purpose of providing funding for staff development, special purpose projects and equipment for EGHS.

Governed by four independent local trustees – Chairperson David Hosking, Bill Jones, Geoff Laidlaw and Jill Tivey – who manage the trust’s assets and the distribution of funding for the benefit of the health service, the trust has assisted many staff members to obtain further qualifications.

The Foundation currently offers bursaries up to the value of $10,000 to individuals to ensure improvement and the long-term viability of services at EGHS.

“Since its inception the Building for the Future Foundation has allocated 16 bursaries to help our staff upskill and build their skills to provide extended capacity to the organisation,” Foundation chairperson David Hosking said.

“One of the key areas we have focused on is to build the skill of nurses to undertake midwifery.  A lack of midwives has been listed as a risk for EGHS.

“EGHS chief executive Nick Bush has been quoted as saying ‘without the Building for the Future Foundation scholarships supporting the training of midwives, the health service would very likely have ceased this crucial service due to lack of midwives’.”

The Building for the Future Foundation will offer two nursing graduate diploma bursaries for 2018, one for midwifery.

Last year’s bursary recipients included Jess Baird, who is undertaking a Bachelor of Nursing and Rebbekkah Seeary, who is completing an Advanced Diploma of Dental Prosthetics.

Ms Baird said she was honored to receive the bursary to upskill to the Bachelor of Nursing as a flexible student through Federation University.

She said the bursary has provided financial assistance, allowing the required time out of employment to complete residential school each semester and participate in clinical placement hours.

“I have found the studies challenging at times, however very rewarding,” Ms Baird said.

“Once I have finished this course I believe this qualification will further my clinical and critical thinking skills, allowing me to have the opportunity to take an active role in supporting new and upcoming nurses as well as the potential to participate in management roles.”

Ms Seeary said the bursary she received has been of great assistance in furthering her career.

“The bursary has allowed me to focus more on my studies than the financial stress of worrying about accommodation every week – without it I would have struggled to complete my studies this year,” Ms Seeary said.

“Once completed I will become full time at EGHS again and will begin seeing patients myself which I cannot wait for, as I enjoy working with patients and providing them with a quality product.”

In addition to bursaries, the Foundation has also contributed $200,000 towards a new CT scanner, which was supported by $150,000 from partners the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation Ararat Branch, as well as $100,000 towards repairs to the 1937 three-storey hospital building.

“Through these allocations and bursaries, the Foundation aims to ensure that the health service remains at the forefront in the provision of health care and services in the region,” Mr Hosking said.

Jess Baird, Building for the Future Foundation chairman David Hosking and Rebbekkah Seeary