Four registered nurses are pursuing PhD studies this year through the School of Population Health, with the help of substantial external scholarships.
All four receive $25,000 annually for the three years of their postgraduate degree.
Sonya Rogal was the inaugural winner of the Olive Anstey scholarship, which was introduced last year and is fully funded by the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Nursing Services.
She is studying patient outcomes of in-hospital cardiac arrest and the factors associated with maximising the survival rate.
The winner of the second Olive Anstey scholarship is Louise Schreuders, who has taken up her studies this year. She has been a student of the UWA Master of Public Health degree and has worked with Professor Judith Finn, Chair in Nursing Research in the Centre for Nursing Research at SCGH , as a research officer.
She will look at nurse-sensitive outcomes, which are patient outcomes that can be attributed to the quality of nursing care. These include pressure sores and infection rates.
Olive Anstey, who was the Director of Nursing at SCGH from 1963 until the year before her death in 1983, was a staunch advocate for better working conditions and pay for nurses which she saw as synonymous with improving care for patients. She also agitated for improved education and the formal development of nursing knowledge through research.
Two other nurses are studying with the aid of National Health and Medical Research Council scholarships.
Linda Coventry won the funding last year and is looking at heart disease in women, and the gender differences in rates of heart attack.
The same scholarship was awarded this year to registered nurse Sally Wilson, who is examining the indicators of the quality of nursing care in paediatric nursing.
Professor Finn, who is a PhD graduate from the School of Population Health, said that modern-day nursing practice needed to be informed by sound clinical research and as such it was pleasing to see an increasing number of nurses enrolling in postgraduate research degrees at UWA and securing competitive scholarships.
She has supervised another nurse, Teresa Williams, now a nurse researcher at Royal Perth Hospital, who was also a NHMRC PhD scholarship awardee. She submitted her PhD thesis for examination late last year and is awaiting the examiners’ reports. Her topic was Long-Term Outcomes for Patients Treated in the Intensive Care Unit.