Scholarship awarded to palliative care nurse Emily Hicks

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Pictured, from left: Angela Nolan, Emily Hicks and Dame Quentin Bryce 

Emily Hicks was inspired to become a palliative care nurse when her aunt, Kathy Webster, was admitted to St Vincent’s Caritas Christi facility in Kew. 

It was a difficult time for her family as they entered one of the most challenging stages since the diagnosis of her aunt’s brain tumour. 

“I was really touched by how gentle the staff were with her and how they kept us all so well informed in such a dignified way,” Emily recalled. 

Founded in 1938 by the Sisters of Charity, Caritas Christi was the first inpatient care facility established in Victoria and is recognised today as the largest provider of palliative and supportive care in the state. It is also recognised nationally as a centre of excellence. 

Emily studied nursing at Australian Catholic University (ACU) and did her placement training at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne but it was her experience watching the staff in action at Caritas Christi from the other side that ultimately led to Emily choosing palliative care nursing as a vocation.  

“I felt it in my gut; I just knew this was my calling,” said Emily, who has been a palliative care nurse for eight years at Caritas Christi. 

Study goals 

Emily was presented the 2022 Dame Quentin Bryce Postgraduate Scholarship in Palliative Care Nursing earlier this year and is honoured by the acknowledgement and opportunity to further her training and education.

“This scholarship is a fitting recognition not only of the exceptional work of St Vincent’s nurses, but also of the specialist skills and knowledge required to be an outstanding palliative care nurse,” said Angela Nolan, Chief Executive Officer of St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. 

Now in its second year, the scholarship is awarded to a current St Vincent’s palliative care nurse undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma in palliative care. 

Dame Quentin said she was excited by the opportunity this scholarship has created for Emily, and others, to further education in palliative care.  

“I believe scholarships to be a very significant and powerful way to invest in our country’s future,” she added.