Graduate neonatology nursing program now available

Three female clinical nurses stand beside a newborn baby in an incubator
FSH clinical nurses Francine Jacobs, Pauline Halfweeg and Kerry Staples are part of the inaugural Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing program at Fiona Stanley Hospital.
November 15, 2018

A collaboration between Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH), Curtin University and Women and Newborn Health Services (WNHS) has enabled a neonatal post graduate nursing program to be offered for the first time to an external hospital.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing Course was established more than 40 years ago at King Edward Memorial Hospital and is now offered as a Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing (Neonatal Intensive Care) in collaboration with Curtin University and WNHS to registered nurses and midwives working in the neonatal field.

WNHS Neonatal Educator – Postgraduate, Linda McKean, said the course commenced at FSH earlier this year with three nurses scheduled to graduate soon.

“The neonatal intensive care unit at FSH is an accredited level five unit, which looks after critically ill babies. As the only facility of its kind in the area, it was a natural progression to establish a local program,” Linda said.

“The care the babies and families receive from the neonatal staff at FSH is first class but it is important that education is provided for those nursing staff who wish to improve their knowledge base and gain intensive experience in caring for neonates.

“The three graduates, Pauline, Francine and Kerry, have been exceptional inaugural students and will be the future leaders in their field.”

Whilst undertaking the course through Curtin University, students work full time and complete a rotation at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Perth Children’s Hospital to gain knowledge in the care of surgical neonates.

FSH Head of Neonatology, Dr Jean du Plessis, was thrilled to offer this program at the hospital.

“Neonatology is a highly specialised area and those looking after vulnerable babies need to have the skills and knowledge to do so,” Jean said.

“The upskilling of our nursing staff to gain a valuable qualification to provide support to the families and babies of WA further adds to our focus on providing the very best care for our patients.”

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