Gemma Holdem has completed her studies at Ara Institute of Canterbury on a high note, after becoming the inaugural recipient of the Kim Milward Scholarship for Clinical Excellence.
In front of her peers, tutors, department staff and Kim Milward’s family and former colleagues, Gemma received the scholarship with surprise and delight.
“I’m just really shocked, I wasn’t expecting it,” Gemma says.
The award was presented by Kim’s husband David and daughter Ella. Dr Anna Fenton, who worked with Kim Milward at Christchurch Women’s Hospital for over a decade, remembers Kim, who died of breast cancer in 2013, as kind, compassionate, committed and incredibly hardworking – attributes shared by Gemma.
From left to right: Marie McMillan, Ella Milward, Dr Anna Fenton, David Milward, Gemma Holdem, Rose Mitchell and Cathy Andrew.
At the presentation, Ara Head of Nursing Dr Cathy Andrew said Gemma maintained a high level of achievement in both the theoretical and clinical components of the New Zealand Diploma in Enrolled Nursing programme.
“In addition, her ability to organise and manage her personal life with the increasing demands of full time study has been an exemplar to others and a demonstration of her professional attributes.”
Dr Andrew added that in the clinical setting, Gemma had been a role model to her peers through her conscientiousness, caring and consideration of others including health consumers.
The surprise win for Gemma adds to the pride she feels at having completed her diploma while raising her young daughter. “My daughter’s three and a half and she loves saying ‘my mum’s a nurse’,” Gemma says. Her mother, who gave her the confidence and support to undertake full time study is also very proud of her.
Gemma Holdem receiving her scholarship.
At the award presentation, Gemma said it was an honour to win the scholarship in memory of Kim Milward. “I’ll always remember it and I’ll always think of her.”
Gemma hopes to begin her nursing career in a mental health environment. When her daughter starts school in a couple of years she’s keen study towards becoming a registered nurse. “That’s the great thing about nursing, there’s so much you can learn and endless opportunities.”