Nursing clinical grants made possible by UOW USA Foundation donor

Words: Sarah Vickery

Going into a clinical nursing environment for the first time can be challenging enough for student nurses, without the added pressures of travel and accommodation costs and the inability to maintain their casual work while on placement.

Thanks to the generosity of previously United States based UOW alumna, Professor Patricia M. Davidson, six nursing students from the University of Wollongong (UOW) have received financial support during their placements, allowing them to focus on their studies.

With her inaugural gift of US$2000 (AUD$2800) to the UOW USA Foundation, these funds have enabled UOW to support two scholars with $1000 Nursing Clinical Placement Grants, with another four students receiving Nursing Clinical Placement Support Grants of $100 and $200 respectively.

As former Dean of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University in the US, Professor Davidson understands firsthand the student clinical placement journey, after a long career both in nursing and nursing education.

Now, in her capacity as UOW’s newly appointed Vice-Chancellor, Professor Davidson’s passion to support the University’s future frontline nursing graduates continues.

“We’ve all seen the important role our nurses play on the frontline, particularly this last year during the global pandemic.

“For me, knowing I can support these nursing students through one of their most challenging times not only in their degree, but also in our global environment, is extremely fulfilling,” Professor Davidson says.

Professor Patricia M. Davidson

Students who received Nursing Clinical Placement Support Grants

Caitlyn Moore

Third year Wollongong-based nursing student Caitlyn Moore recently undertook a nursing placement on the New South Wales South Coast and is preparing for another placement in Liverpool in Sydney’s South West this year. She says the financial support for these experiences has been invaluable.

“This grant enabled me to partake in a placement in a rural setting (Milton-Ulladulla), which was a cherished experience I could not have afforded or enjoyed without the monetary assistance.

“Through this experience, I am even more grateful for the roles nurses have in various communities, and am endlessly indebted to the generous donor who enabled me to have this experience through their contribution.

“Without your help, I could not have afforded a four-week placement in a rural area. Your contribution is something I am indescribably grateful for, and your assistance has enabled me to further pursue my endeavours and passion for the nursing field.”

Courtney Davies

Recent graduate Courtney Davies was also a recipient of the Nursing Clinical Placement Grant and successfully secured a New Graduate Position as a Registered Nurse within The Wollongong Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. She says the grant made a considerable difference to her last placement as a nursing student.

“The Nursing Clinical Placement Grant assisted me immensely within my final placement and eased some of the financial burdens associated with clinical placements. Henceforth I was able to focus solely upon my progression and growth as a health professional enabling me to develop as an independent Registered Nurse.

“I express my sincere gratitude to the donor and thank them immensely for their selfless donation. Without their support, students such as myself from a rural and disadvantaged background would not be able to work to their full potential. I will forever be grateful for having received this support.”

Chelsea Pusser

Third year nursing student Chelsea Pusser completed a four-week placement in the Emergency Department at Sutherland Hospital during the beginning of a global COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite a lot of uncertainty around the situation she was able to adapt to daily rule changes and updates on how to care for patients under the Covid-19 precautions. She says having the financial support of the Nursing Clinical Placement Grant made a significant difference to her overall experience.

“For four weeks I had to drive 81kms (1hr 10min) there and back each day. I had planned to work on the weekends to cover the costs of fuel, but was unable to as I work in aged care and did not want to potentially spread Covid-19 into the facility after working on the frontline. This grant enabled me to feel secure and not stressed on how I was going to be able to afford fuel, food and other essential items.

“If I were to meet the donor of this Grant, I would sincerely thank them for the help they were able to provide to me in such a difficult time. Placements are an essential part of completing my degree and I look forward to every new placement, however the lack of financial assistance for students can be extremely difficult during these times. This grant provided me with the peace of mind that I could focus on my placement.”

Following the successful outcome of the first round of Nursing Clinical Placement Grants, the program is set to be expanded for the next three years from 2021 to 2023.

The new Nursing Clinical Placement Scholarships program will include five $1500 scholarships per annum and will be awarded to outstanding students studying a Bachelor of Nursing, using philanthropically gifted funds via the UOW USA Foundation and general donors to UOW.

If you would like to make a gift to support our student nurses while they’re undertaking their clinical placements, please visit our UOW USA Foundation donation page.