ALI Rose Sisk was crowned the overall winner at the Neutrogena Hydro Boost and Her.ie ‘Girls with Goals’ competition, which celebrates the ambitions of young women.
The 23-year-old from Midleton was awarded a ‘Goal-Getters’ fund of €5,000, which will allow her to realise her personal goal of completing her MA at University College Cork, where she is developing workshops and training programmes in dementia care.
Ali Rose has been offered a Marie Curie research scholarship and PhD position in psychiatry at the University of London. The prize money she received as part of the ‘Girls with Goals’ competition will also help pay her relocation costs to London.
Ali Rose works as a nurse over the weekends at Cork University Hospital in a busy brain and spinal surgery ward. During the week, she is a full-time MA student at UCC, studying dementia care.
As part of her Masters’ degree, she created a workshop called VERA — Validation, Emotional Reassurance and Action. It is designed to help give student nurses the knowledge and confidence to care for people living with dementia.
She says: “My gran is called Vera and she has dementia. The programme I developed teaches nursing students that it is OK to ‘go along’ with the patient’s idea of reality.
“You don’t always have to re-orient them to the actual reality they are living in. It’s more therapeutic, in some ways, to go along with the patient’s reality and to help them deal with their emotions.”
Ali Rose knew she would pursue a career in nursing from a young age. She worked as a health care assistant in her teens and after completing her Leaving Certificate, she began her studies in nursing at UCC. She is particularly passionate about improving care for the elderly.
While working as a nurse, Ali Rose was bothered by the fact that she and her nursing colleagues were “spending less and less time with the patient and more time filling in documents. Although documentation is vital, I didn’t feel that all of it was necessary.”
As a result, Ali Rose approached staff at UCC about designing an electronic means to document patient information.
“It would be quicker for nurses and allow us to spend more time with patients. Time with the patient isn’t always in abundance, especially with patients with dementia.”
Ali Rose also developed a software package called Safecare at UCC and is conversing with pharmaceutical companies about launching the software in nursing homes. The software allows nurses to speed up documentation time by 60%.
At the moment, she is continuing her work as a nurse at the CUH and completing her dissertation for her MA. Later this year, she will move to London to further her studies as a PhD student, researching the area of palliative care in young people with early onset dementia.
She says: “The research I will be involved with will develop palliative care services within the NHS.
“I will be working with patients across the NHS, in hospitals and in their homes, to see what they need when it comes to health services and how I can help improve these services.”
Ali Rose is very excited to continue her nursing studies and work in London. She says: “There is nothing like the feeling you get when you can give time to a patient and you can work towards making their life better, help them to live well and help them to live comfortably.”
Ali Rose’s long-term goal is “to nurse”.
“ I want us nurses to be able to do our jobs and have time with patients. After I complete my PhD, I’d love to develop more interventions that allow nurses to have more patient time.”
The ‘Girls with Goals’ competition invited entrants from across Ireland to outline their personal goals. Ali Rose was one of the three finalists shortlisted from hundreds of entries. Morer than 100 guests attended the live final, where Ali Rose was crowned the overall winner.
Speaking about the competition, Paulette Battigan, Neutrogena Brand Manager, Ireland said: “Neutrogena wants to help everyone put their best face forward in pursuing their dreams, however big or small and to encourage people to see what’s possible, to share their dreams and inspire others.
“Congratulations to Ali Rose. She has clear sight of her goals and is very passionate, determined and hard working. We hope this practical support will help her as she continues with her studies and research in this area and wish her every success for the future.”
Ali Rose was inspired by the high standard of the other contestants’ work and ambitions and applauded the other women nominated.
She says: “I was in shock when I found out I won. I really didn’t think I would. It was lovely to have acknowledgement of women in nursing, alongside women in business and other fields.
“I was delighted that I could raise awareness about dementia by taking part in the competition. Winning the prize money and being able to use that to help my studies was a bonus.”