Registrations for the PMA Conference are now open! Click here for more information.

Nursing student finds purpose in brother's memory
Updates / News, 25 May 23
Hailing from the Fiji Islands, Charlene McGechan was born in Lautoka and is from the village of Maunisolo in Kadavu. Currently in her final year of a nursing degree at the Universal College of Learning (UCOL) in Whanganui, she never considered it as a pathway until a life changing moment which pushed her to pursue it as a career.

Reflecting on her purpose and 'why', Mrs McGechan, shared about the care her brother received from Palliative Care Nurses as being a key part in her decision to study nursing. 

"I lost my brother to colon cancer and watching the palliative care nurses in Brisbane care for my brother making him as comfortable as possible with as much dignity played a major influence in my decision to do nursing and then to specialise in Palliative Care." 

Mrs McGechan will begin a nine week transitional placement in September as she nears the conclusion of her studies.  

"I wish to specialise in palliative care and I'm hoping for placement with Hospice. It is a tremendous privilege to be able to provide patients, families and whānau with a comprehensive service at the most vulnerable time in their lives." 

As a recipient of the Abel Smith Nursing Scholarship in 2021, she expressed that the scholarship helped to alleviate the financial stress of returning to study as a mature student.  

"The decision to return to school had a financial burden on my family and when the scholarship was offered to me at the time when Covid-19 was at its peak, it helped pay for some of my tuition and the remainder of my family financial commitments; I will be forever grateful." 

Mrs McGechan is motivated to educate and advocate for Pasifika when it comes to their own health and offers a word of encouragement to students pursuing a career in health. 

"Take each day as it comes and never tell yourself that you can't do it. Maintain an open mind  and know that you will have an impact on someone's life." 

The annual PMA Pacific Health Education Scholarships are still open for applications and close at 5pm Friday 2 June, 2023. There are 11 scholarship categories, with 19 individual awards available for Pacific students and professionals, valued at $140,000.  

Apply now here: