Two talented University of Tasmania students were recently presented with Royal Flying Doctor Service’s (RFDS) Scholarships, which enabled them to spend two weeks’ work experience with the organisation servicing rural and remote communities.
Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery student Sharon Fitzpatrick, and Bachelor of Nursing student Kirsty Bennett, received the Fred Mckay Medical Student Scholarship and Robin Miller RFDS Nursing Scholarship respectively.
Kirsty Bennett spent two weeks with flight nurses at the organisations Port Augusta base.
“The nurses that I worked under were at the top of their game. It gave me a lot to aspire to… they made me feel incredibly welcome and I think that is a great testament to this great organisation,” Kirsty said when receiving the award.
Sharon Fitzpatrick spent her placement at the RFDS Broken Hill base.
“This experience had given me a real passion for the RFDS, making me realise how imperative the RFDS is to those rural communities,” she said.
The Scholarships are a partnership between the University and RFDS offering students the chance to gain real-world medical and nursing experience with the organisation through a placement.
The Fred Mckay Medical Student Scholarship was established in 1997 to honour Rev Fred McKay, the successor to Rev John Flynn and the spiritual leader of the RFDS. It aims to encourage medical students to consider a career in rural and remote areas of Australia.
The Robin Miller RFDS Nursing Scholarship is dedicated to the memory of the late Mrs Robin Miller-Dicks (1940-75), the nurse aviatrix and RFDS pilot who became widely known by Aboriginal Australians as the ‘Sugar-Bird Lady’ because of handing out thousands of doses of sweetly flavoured polio oral vaccine. It provides a senior nursing undergraduate with the experience of living in remote Australia.
Scholarships are an important way to recognise student excellence and support their educational aspirations and are administered through the University of Tasmania Foundation. To support initiatives like these, visit www.utas.edu.au/giving.