Winner of the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Scholarship
December 4 2012, 2:11 pm

The Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship for 2012 has been awarded to Sally Lima, Research Nurse Consultant in Nursing Research at the RCH.

Each year, the Scholarship allows one outstanding nurse to further develop skills and experience by exploring innovative practices and models of care across Australia and internationally. An initiative of the RCH Auxiliaries, the Scholarship recognises the crucial role of nurses at our world class hospital, and the need to support and provide exciting opportunities that further develop their expertise. 

Up to $50,000 will be directed towards Sally’s project to continue to explore and advance the RCH Nursing Competency Framework that supports the development of a competent nursing workforce: all nurses have the necessary knowledge such as understanding treatment, skills such as assessment of patient conditions and the ‘essence of nursing’ such as the ability to establish caring relationships based on trust and professional behaviour. This leads to excellence in clinical nursing practice

The RCH Nursing Competency Framework was introduced in late 2010. Sally led an evaluation of its implementation which identified where it was working and a number of questions for further exploration.

This was not the first time Sally had been involved in exploring how nurses are supported to deliver excellent nursing care. Sally has been a member of the RCH for over 20 years holding a number of positions; for the past five years as part of the Nursing Education and Research Department.

In each position she has held Sally has led and participated in projects to advance nursing practice such as developing the training program for nurses prior to the move to the new hospital and establishing short courses for nurses working in children’s cancer. She is currently enrolled in her PhD at the University of Melbourne undertaking further evaluation of the RCH Nursing Competency Framework.

What Sally loves about her current work is that through advancing the Nursing Competency Framework it creates an opportunity for all nurses to advance their practice and therefore benefit all patients and their families.

Sally said “The Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Scholarship provides an extraordinary opportunity for participation in a structured yet personalised program that will support achievement of my goals.  In doing so, I hope provide immeasurable benefit to nursing at the RCH, and contribute to our hospital staying at the pinnacle of paediatric health care.”

Sally has three aims for her project:

  • expand and coordinate processes and programs that support development of nursing competence
  • establish an ongoing research program focused on development of competence
  • improve Nursing support for the generation, implementation utilisation and evaluation of evidence in practice

In order to reach these goals, Sally will use her scholarship funds to extend her expertise in evaluation and facilitation of evidence into nursing practice at the RCH. She will undertake studies to improve her skills in using computer software for managing research data, and complete Graduate Certificates in Evaluation and Coaching.

She will also attend conferences in Australia and internationally, and undertake visits to the RCH’s international counterparts; Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa in Helsinki, Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Boston Children’s Hospital, Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and Bangor University in Wales.

By undertaking further educational training and travelling to visit other world-leading hospitals, Sally will gain insight into how other organisations create environments that support development of competence and translation of evidence into practice and establish networks for collaboration in future work related to development of competence. She will also act as an advocate, communicating and promoting the innovative work being undertaken by nurses at the RCH.

Sally believes her project will directly feed into the RCH’s vision is to be a GREAT children’s hospital, leading the way.  She hopes to find answers to challenges that the RCH experiences and significantly contribute to the knowledge base nationally and internationally by sharing findings with other organisations and professional bodies facing similar challenges.

Sally’s excitement was palpable when told she was the successful recipient of the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Scholarship for 2012: “I’m so fortunate to be part of an organisation that recognises and values the contribution nursing research makes to the experience and outcomes for children and families. I’m so proud to be a nurse supporting other nurses in delivering excellence in clinical care.

“I’m very thankful for the incredible opportunities made available through the generosity of the Foundation, Auxiliaries and public”.


A tribute to Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE (1909-2012)

Attend the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship Fundraising Luncheon on Tuesday 26 March 2013.