Congratulations to Bianca Devsam, the recipient of the 2020 Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship. Bianca is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Butterfly Ward, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and a Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Nursing Research Department.
Bianca has worked in Butterfly ward since 2014 and is passionate about helping acutely ill newborn or preterm babies and their families. During her time at the bedside with these critically ill babies Bianca identified the complexities in finding the right balance of pain relief.
In 2016, Bianca participated in the RCH BEST Practice Program, establishing the foundations of her research journey. She investigated nursing assessment of pain in neonates, and instigated a hospital-wide change in the pain assessment tool utilised in neonatal care.
Bianca joined the Nursing Research Team as a Nurse Consultant and completed her Masters of Advanced Nursing Practice, delving deeper into pain assessment. Empowered to continually improve clinical practice, her focus shifted to pain management which is an integral component of care for patients in the NICU.
“If babies are in a lot of pain they won’t recover from their surgery or medical condition very well. It is easy to give too much pain medication, but if they’re heavily sedated it has negative effects on their brain development and attachment with their families,” said Bianca.
With the support of the Dame Elisabeth Nursing Development Scholarship Bianca will consult locally and globally to learn how other hospitals manage neonatal pain. Armed with these insights, Bianca plans to seek further advice from nurses, medical staff and families in the NICU to develop and implement a new pain management guideline.
“It is such an honour and a privilege to receive this scholarship. I’m so grateful and thankful for the Auxiliaries and the RCH Foundation for giving me this opportunity, and for giving nurses this opportunity, not just me but the nurses before me and the nurses in the future to come. I hope I can inspire and empower other nurses to identify issues in their clinical practice and to do something about it, to change it, to improve the care we can provide to patients and families,” said Bianca.