A virtual fundraiser to support the advancement of nurses at The Royal Children’s Hospital

Thank you so much for your amazing support of the 2020 Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Development Scholarship virtual fundraiser. While we were unable to come together for a physical lunch, we were delighted with the overwhelming response to this online fundraising event.

Each year, the $50,000 scholarship allows one outstanding nurse to enhance their skills by exploring innovative practices and models of care across Australia and internationally.

Together, we exceeded our target and raised over $60,000 for the advancement of nurses at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH).

Your generosity in these extraordinary times means that this year’s scholarship recipient Bianca Devsam can continue undertaking vital research into pain management for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  



A special thanks to our interviewees, David and Lani Fixler, Dr Amanda Moody and Bianca Devsam for sharing their personal stories and insights on the impact of care at the RCH. Thanks also to Graeme Kemlo for completing the interviews.

We would also like to thank our generous supporters BankVic, the American Women’s Association, the individuals and businesses who donated prizes for the raffle, our event patron Janet-Calvert-Jones AM and of course all who donated to the scholarship and purchased online raffle tickets.

We hope you can continue to support this amazing scholarship in the future. Together we can empower nurses at the RCH to push the boundaries of standard care, ensuring the hospital can continue to be a world-leading institution.

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1 Micro flite and Levantine Hill Superior Package (for 4 persons) – Graeme K
2 Private Tour and Lunch at Cruden Farm (for 8 persons) – Rebecca P.
3 David Bromley, limited edition print (framed) “Butterflies” – Gwen B.
4 Montal Jewellery – Anne P.
5 Huntingdale Golf Course – Lisa G.
6 ULUPNA Fine Wines – Julie B.
7 An Evening at the Victorian Opera – Kirsty B.
8 Cooking on the Bay (for 2 persons) – Marie L.

9 Werribee Sunset Safari & Werribee Quest night package for 2 persons -Anna G.
10 A Night at the Hyatt (for two persons) –
Carly S.
11 Australian Ballet VIP Tickets (for two persons)
– Liz A.
12 AESOP’S Hamper
– Natalie B.
Peter Alexander His and Hers PJ’s – Samuel B.
14 High Tea at Sofitel – Bette S.
15 Sussan Gift Voucher – Rosemary S.
16 Suzanne Grae Gift Voucher – Karl K.

17 Sportsgirl Gift Voucher – Jan R.
18 Endota Spa – Bourke St Melbourne – Ann L.
19 Toscano’s Gift Vouchers – Bette P.
20 Palace Cinema Movie Club Memberships for 5 persons – Barb B.
21 Tilleys Soap Hamper – Jan C.
22 Tilleys Soap Voucher – Gwen B.
23 Armababy Hamper – Judi F.

Lani and David Fixler

Grateful parents

Lani and David Fixler’s son, Henry was born one month premature and presented to the RCH struggling to breathe with a serious infection. He received treatment in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the RCH from August to September 2018.
The Fixler family are eternally grateful to the doctors and nurses at the RCH for Henry’s life-saving care. Lani and David are also thankful for the compassion, patience and understanding shown to them, as new and desperately concerned parents, which helped them through the ordeal. While Henry will never remember his time at the RCH, Lani and David will never forget what the RCH did for their family.

Henry is now a playful, cheeky and happy toddler who keeps his parents and grandparents on their toes as they dote on him.

Dr Amanda Moody

Neonatologist and Deputy Director, NICU

Dr Amanda Moody is a Monash University graduate who completed her paediatric training at the RCH. Her speciality training in Neonatology (Neonatal Intensive Care) was undertaken at the RCH, the Royal Women’s Hospital and in the UK at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol. She is a full-time senior clinician on the NICU and also has an interest in education.

Amanda established the current teaching program for junior medical staff on the NICU and was also involved in the creation of the Melbourne Neonatal Fellow Teaching Programme which brings senior neonatal trainees from across Melbourne together for regular education days.

She is part of the team who generate guidelines to ensure best practice and patient safety on the NICU as well as contributing to groups seeking to optimise neonatal nutrition, pain management, and palliative care.

Congratulations to Bianca Devsam, the recipient of the 2020 Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship. Bianca is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Butterfly Ward (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.

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Thank you so much for joining us for the 2020 Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship virtual fundraiser.

While we are unable to come together for a physical lunch, we are very much committed to showing you how vital your support of nurses at the RCH is. We have taken inspiration from Louise Gourlay OAM, Patron of Auxiliaries, who foreshadowed at our luncheon last year that we should “do things differently” – we are so grateful to you for joining us on this journey.

As you may be aware, each year we aim to raise $50,000 for the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship which allows one outstanding nurse to enhance their skills and experience by exploring innovative practices and models of care across Australia and internationally. This scholarship would not be possible without your selfless support.

This year, we congratulate Bianca Devsam, the 11th Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development scholar and wish her well with her project.

We understand that these times are challenging, but anything that you can donate to this scholarship will make a difference and will be greatly appreciated.

We look forward to seeing everyone again in the not too distant future. In the meantime, stay safe and well. Our deepest thanks to you all.

Dr Miriam Weisz, Barb Nicoll, Lila Kemlo, Marcia Bacon and Annie Tsourlinis.
The Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship Committee would also like to thank the RCH Foundation team for their hard work, dedication and support of this event.

It is an absolute pleasure to warmly welcome you to this wonderful fundraiser, and sincerely thank you for furthering the impact of this treasured scholarship in support of nurses at The Royal Children’s Hospital.

My mother, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, had a deep commitment to the care, health and wellbeing of the children at the hospital, and we as a family are proud that her legacy lives on to this day. She generously gave her name to the scholarship in perpetuity to promote the advancement of nurses at The Royal Children’s Hospital. I share her passion for the future of children’s health as Patron of the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship Luncheon.

Each year, the scholarship recipients have embodied the values that my mother held in high regard, and this year’s recipient is no different. Bianca’s commitment to caring for the lives of our youngest and most vulnerable patients and their families is truly remarkable, and it’s an honour to support her work in this field.

I am delighted that the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship fundraiser can still continue in its new digital format as ensuring nursing excellence is more important than ever for the care of Victoria’s children. I thank you for your support in these exceptional times.

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2019 Sonja Elia
Sonja has developed a culturally appropriate immunisation program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander children.

“I worked alongside the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to launch the Bubba Jabs campaign in Victoria, which had previous success in Queensland. We developed immunisation brochures and learning resources and distributed them in various areas of the RCH, including the Wadja Aboriginal Family Place and the Immunisation Clinic. Since the work in this area began in 2019, we have seen immunisation rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at the RCH improve by 8% for scheduled vaccines on the National Immunisation Program and influenza vaccination rates improve by 25%. Additionally, more than 2000 Bubba Jabs brochures have been distributed across Victoria with little promotion, which is extremely encouraging and shows us how important these resources are.”

2018 Tania Ramos
Tania has developed best practices to minimise post-operative complications in children.

“The Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development scholarship has enabled me to develop and implement the Emergence Delirium policy which guides both Medical and Nursing staff to provide best care for our patients. This policy is now being implemented across New South Wales and multiple centres across Victoria. Furthermore, the scholarship has resulted in a parent information fact sheet, implementation of assessment tool, changes to documentation and alerts as well as regular clinical audits.

As a result of the Dame Elisabeth Nursing Development Scholarship Perioperative Hypothermia rates have decreased in recovery. We are now able to actively warm all children who require post-operative warming in the unit. This has led to better post-operative outcomes such as decrease recovery time.”

2017 Amy Johansen
Amy has researched the long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes and quality of life follow-up programs for cardiac and respiratory life support (ECLS) patients.

“Thanks to the support from the Dame Elisabeth Nursing Development Scholarship, this project is ongoing and evolving, incorporating large scale collaboration. My research has grown beyond ECLS, with the recognition that long term follow up is important for a number of key high risk patients groups. We are now building on current practices to develop a robust and sustainable long term follow up model that meets the needs of patients who have been critically unwell.”

2016 Donna Eade
Donna has developed the Clinical Nurse Consultant role to provide world leading care to transgender children and young people in the RCH Gender Service (RCHGS).

“The demand for RCHGS has increased substantially from 18 new referrals in 2012, to 339 in 2019. Subsequently In 2016, an innovative Single Session Nurse-led assessment Clinic (SSNac) was developed and introduced to provide our patients timely access and assessment. All new referrals aged 8 to 17 years now enter the service via the SSNac where the young person and their primary caregiver are provided a one-off, 90 minute face-to-face consultation within 6 months of their referral.

In April 2018 a paper on implementing an SSNac into a gender service was published in Transgender Health. In 2018, the SSNac received a Public Health Award – being highly commended in supporting LGBTI health. In 2019 the SSNac model was evaluated and results indicated a number of significant positive outcomes and it is anticipated that these will be published this year.”

2015 Catherine Fox
Catherine has advanced the role of the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner within neonatal emergency retrieval and care.

2014 Melissa Heywood
Melissa has researched ways to improve communication with families about palliative care.

2013 Sally Lima
Sally has expanded the RCH Nursing Competency Framework.

2012 Dr Sharon Kinney
Sharon has created patient monitoring and alarm safety practices.

2011 Lisa Takacs
Lisa has expanded the Procedural Pain Management program across the hospital.

2010 Sharon Downes
Sharon has researched the Pierre Robin Sequence.

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Nurses have been integral to the RCH since its founding in 1870. The modern nurse looks quite different to the nurse of the past.

Thanks to your support, cutting-edge equipment and technology now play a big role in how nurses can care for RCH patients, and through access to opportunities like the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship, RCH nurses are supported to learn, adapt and share knowledge to advance patient care.

What is unchanged after 150 years is their vital role at the frontline of the patient experience, working in collaboration with medical and allied health staff to form a holistic ecosystem of care. View the RCH Archives collection and see the many faces of nurses at the hospital.

View the archives

All of our generous supporters who have helped make this event possible, and are ensuring the future of nursing excellence at the RCH:

BankVic for their continued support with a significant donation to this year’s scholarship

American Women’s Association (AWA) who have directed funds to the scholarship and to the Dame Elisabeth Nursing Development Scholarship Endowment Fund.

This will be a lasting reminder of the invaluable contribution that AWA has made to the RCH in over 90 years of its existence as the Auxiliary winds up.

Graeme Kemlo for completing the recorded interviews with the guest speakers

ZINC at Federation Square for supporting the event even though we were unable to hold at their venue this year

Winning Edge who donated the RCH volunteer t-shirts which we look forward to wearing with pride at the next available opportunity

The generosity of our wonderful raffle prize donors

Everyone who has bought raffle tickets and donated so generously to the scholarship

Donate to the scholarship now