Fellowship awarded to Mt Lawley dietitian

Senior Dietitian Amy Ekin has been awarded a new St John of God Health Care fellowship to advance her career and improve the nutritional outcomes of patients.

17 Oct 2022

St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital Senior Dietitian Amy Ekin

Amy, who works at St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital, is one of four inaugural St John of God Health Care Clinical and Research Fellowship candidates.

The scholarship will enable Amy to study a Master of Philosophy, part-time, over a three-year period at the University of Notre Dame Australia, while remaining on full pay and receiving necessary leave and support to complete her studies.

Her research will focus on the role of routine nutrition supplementation provided to patients who are in hospital recovering post fracture. The study will be examining the role nutrition supplements play in reducing length of stay and improving functional status.

Amy said she was looking forward to applying her research in the health care setting.

“The Fellowship is a win-win – it not only offers me personal growth in terms of my own career, but also the opportunity to develop and improve nutritional outcomes for patients both at St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital and more broadly in the rehabilitation and aged care sectors,” Amy said.

“What patients eat and drink in hospital affects how well they recover and how quickly. So as a dietitian, my role is to make sure patients get the right nourishment so they can get home sooner”.

“We already conduct regular audits around nutrition supplementation at the hospital, so my research will build on this and help us gain a better understanding of best practice when it comes to enhancing rehabilitation and recovery through nutrition.” 

For Amy, the Fellowship means she can dedicate time to her studies while continuing her clinical work in the hospital, without the financial stress or time pressure. 

“I’ve been wanting to study again for quite a while, but I haven’t been able to while I’ve been working full time,” she said.

“I’m really looking forward to indulging in the study with the backing of St John of God Health Care, my manager, my colleagues and my supervisors, all while knowing the outcomes will positively impact our patients and the contribute to research in dietetics.”

The University of Notre Dame Australia

Amy started her career as a graduate dietitian at St John of God Murdoch Hospital in 2014 and has since progressed, more recently moving to leading rehabilitation hospital, St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital in 2021 to take on the Senior Dietitian role.

“I am very thankful that I’m able to continue growing in my profession within an organisation that I love,” she said.

“Regardless of the hospital, I’ve always had a supportive and high performing team to work with. The culture itself is incredible and I don’t think you can beat it.”

St John of God Health Care Group Allied Health and Rehabilitation Research Lead Dr Sangeeta Rathi congratulated Amy as one of the well-deserving candidates of the Fellowship.

“I’m really excited about Amy’s research in fracture patients, which will look at the impact of nutrition on length-of-stay and a patient’s function,” Sangeeta said.

“Orthopaedics is one of our largest service areas across the organisation, so I know her project will have a great application in hospitals, locally, nationally and internationally.

“Amy’s research will help St John of God Health Care achieve its focus on clinical excellence and our strategic intent of becoming the best performing health care provider by 2025.”

St John of God Health Care Group Director Workforce Carla Bonev said the Fellowship was an example of how the organisation was investing in and supporting caregivers to advance their careers.

“The Fellowship is one of the ways we are recognising and rewarding performance excellence, supporting career development and professional growth and helping foster a positive and satisfying work culture.”