‘Passionate about making a difference’: WSLHD nurses receive prestigious nursing and midwifery Honours scholarships

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Two remarkable nurses from Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) have been awarded prestigious Honours Degree (BHons) Scholarships in Nursing and Midwifery.

The Pulse interviewed the scholarship recipients, Alanna Robson, Registered Midwife with the Blacktown Hospital’s Midwifery Group Practice, and Alana Ferrif, Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator in WSLHD.

Alanna Robson’s commitment to midwifery and her passion for continuous learning have been the driving forces behind her decision to pursue the BHons Scholarship.

Starting her journey with WSLHD in 2018 as an Assistant in Midwifery (AIM), Alanna’s swift transition to a full-time registered midwife highlighted her dedication to supporting women through the transformative experience of childbirth.

Starting her midwifery career at a mature age, Alanna attributed her shift in career to her own experience as a mother.

“After having my own kids, I started thinking that I wanted to do something where I could help people,” Alanna said.

“In midwifery, we’re working with women that are going through a normal life event. And I love that.”

Alanna’s research focuses on enhancing the experience of women and students within a student led continuity model, with a specific emphasis on developing a sustainable model that aligns theoretical training with practical experience.

Alanna’s advice for current nurses and midwives who are considering applying for this scholarship?

“Go for it.”

She urges potential Honours applicants to pick a topic they’re passionate about.

“Research is so important within the nursing and midwifery field – to gain evidence-based knowledge and put it into practice is something we can only do with research.”

I’m so grateful for the opportunity that I’ve been given.

Alanna Robson, Registered Midwife with the Blacktown Hospital’s Midwifery Group Practice

For Alana Ferrif, her journey with WSLHD began in 2022 as a Diabetes Educator, driven by her passion for contributing to diabetes-related research and learning from experts in the field.

Despite initial reservations about applying for the Honours Scholarship, Alana’s dedication to learning and her desire to inspire her daughter drove her to apply.

“I want to show her what is possible,” she said.

“One of my coping mechanisms for life’s challenges is to push myself to focus on knowledge and new things – be productive rather than destructive.”

Alana’s research focuses on equipping nurses with the necessary nutrition knowledge to provide comprehensive support to patients, particularly in addressing malnutrition—a prevalent issue with significant healthcare implications.

Her project aims to clarify roles and responsibilities within the healthcare team, ensuring patients receive timely and accurate nutrition education to optimise health outcomes.

Offering advice to prospective scholarship applicants, Alana urged individuals to embrace the opportunity for growth and impact.

“If you are passionate about making a difference, why not try research?”

“I would really like to extend my thanks to WSLHD for the opportunity and scholarship, and to Western Sydney University for the ongoing support during the Honours Program.”

I hope that I can make a difference for both staff and patients within WSLHD.

Alana Ferrif, Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator in WSLHD