REGISTERED nurse Ashley Goad was awarded the Country Women's Association of WA (CWA) and Commercial Travellers Association of WA (CTA) Henderson Field Scholarship with a morning tea held in her honour on Tuesday.
Taking place at the CWA of WA Perth headquarters, representatives from both the CWA of WA and CTA attended to congratulate and get to know the winner.
Ms Goad, who has worked as a registered nurse at Carnarvon Hospital since July 2018, said she first heard about the scholarship through her sister who had seen it on social media.
Almost missing the application cut off date in December last year, she quickly submitted her application, hoping to support her post-graduate studies so she can become a clinical nurse.
Originally from the Perth Hills, Ms Goad moved to Carnarvon with her partner Rob Thompson who is operations manager at the Carnarvon Clontarf Academy that aims to improve the lives of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.
Ms Goad also volunteers at the academy, providing help in health and hygiene education.
"I see the same people through my work at the hospital sometimes so it also enables a continuity of care for the indigenous population in our community," Ms Goad said.
Continuing to study part-time while working full-time, she said the $5000 scholarship would afford her some time off work so she can complete her assessments, as well as assist her to take advantage of upskilling opportunities including an emergency course which she plans to attend in Port Hedland in March.
Ms Goad said nurses working in rural areas were relied upon heavily.
"We have to cover the shortfalls and with the effects of COVID-19 and nurses not being able to travel interstate it's certainly put more pressure on the State's regional hospitals," she said.
"I'm also a theatre nurse so I rotate between theatre and emergency.
"Usually we only specialise in one area but because Carnarvon is a small hospital I help out wherever I can.
"I highly recommend that nurses graduating from university try and work regionally in their first few years as the smaller hospitals have less staff so you have the opportunity for a lot more hands on experience," Ms Goad said.
Looking forward, she plans to focus on emergency critical care.
CWA president Elaine Johnson said the organisation had been impressed by the calibre of applications for the scholarship, but that Ms Goad stood out as a worthy recipient.
"Ashley has been doing volunteer work at the Clontarf Academy and her enthusiasm for nursing really shone through and that's what we were looking for in our winner," Ms Johnson said.
"We had another applicant who is also studying to be an expert in lactation feeding and we were very impressed with her application as well, so we gave her a bursary through the Sir James Mitchell fund.
"Scholarships like this are incredibly helpful because it gives students the opportunity to continue on with their studies which they may not have been able to otherwise.
"The work of nurses in rural locations is also incredibly important because quite often they will be the first point of contact for people in the community about a problem."
In 2017 the CWA of WA and CTA established the CWA-CTA Henderson scholarship to provide educational assistance to nurses in rural WA.
CTA president Peter Edwards said the quality of applications had proven the CWA of WA as a sound organisation to partner with.
"This year was no exception and we congratulate the selection committee for again endorsing an exceptionally worthy applicant in Ashley Goad," Mr Edwards said.