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Being a Nurse, Wife and Mother

Being a Nurse, Wife and Mother

Sister Devina Gaundan is a Nurse Unit Manager in the Female Medical Ward/Coronary Care Unit at Labasa Hospital. Thanks to POLHN, she will be graduating with a Master in Health Service Management this year. POLHN is a platform that enables students to explore the world of online learning. To read more about online learning through POLHN, click here.

Devina recently shared some of her thoughts with POLHN in her first blog piece. See below to read her thoughts.    My journey with Pacific Open Learning Health Net (POLHN) began with self-paced courses back in 2012. After doing a few courses, I realised that it was very convenient as I did not need to attend classes and could study in my own time. By dedicating my spare time to online learning, I was gaining knowledge and at the same time obtaining certificates to validate my achievements.

In 2014, I applied for sponsorship to study at Fiji National University. Through POLHN's support, I managed to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Service Management (HSM) in 2016. My passion for online learning has grown over time and I managed to complete my master in HSM this year. With family and work commitments, I knew an online format was my only option. The POLHN programme was perfect and gave me the opportunity to make this personal and professional development. The courses were straightforward and manageable, and the tuition was covered by POLHN. In the past year, I have ventured into research and found it to be fascinating. I have also managed to publish 3 of my articles through Research Gate which has given me more exposure into this field. POLHN has opened many doors for me and I encourage all students to grab this opportunity. Today, I can proudly say that POLHN experience has empowered me to pursue my dream of further education. See what POLHN can do for you!   Like Devina, you can also access a free online course with a certificate of completion from POLHN. To learn more, click here

6 Seconds to Get the Nursing Job

6 Seconds to Get the Nursing Job

The idea is to catch the recruiter’s attention in the first 6 seconds. Studies have shown that it takes 6 seconds to decide if the applicant is the best-fit for a role. To make an impression it is important to keep the information as simple as possible so that readers can skim and identify your selling points. The CV should provide the summary of your experience and achievements.

Remember no one has time to read 10 pages, keep it short, simple and to the point.

While drafting your CV, it’s important to imaginarily divide the resume in 3 sections, top third the resume should be a snapshot about you and your contact details.

Personal information:

  • Name
  • Reachable phone contact and suitable time
  • Email address
  • Preferred Style

can also include a very brief executive summary, which describes you and your skills. This section will act as summary behind the novel; after which the reader will decide if it’s worthwhile skimming through the entire CV.

In the middle section list;


Bullet point date and years/educational institutions. Include honors and awards.

Experience – Give examples:

Restrict your work experience to the past two to three years and tailor it to the specific needs in the advertisement.  List skills that make you best suited for the job. Refrain from listing SOP or TOR (example for midwifes; doing deliveries etc). You can include relevant achievements (e.g. staff of the month) and mention how you can use transferable skills such as communication or being able to work well under pressure.

Use one format at a time:

DO NOT be shy to list some of your other relevant skills. However do not list skills not related to the position.

Stick to your strengths and achievements that will distinguish you from others.

In the last section, list at least 2 referees. Seek prior permission and request for availability to act as your referee. It’s important to keep your referees well informed.


Include 2 to 3 references (avoid friends and families).

Is online education the missing key to a diverse health workforce?

Is online education the missing key to a diverse health workforce?

New online healthcare courses are helping professionals in the Pacific to develop their skills and create a more diverse workforce.

Pacific Island countries are facing a serious skills gap. The global shortage of trained healthcare professionals is estimated to reach a deficit of 18 million workers by 2030. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 4.45 health workers are needed per 1000 people in order to achieve the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care, in other words, universal health coverage (UHC). The migration of health workers is also one of the key concerns. This does not only include immigration but internal migration; from rural to urban and migration within the region. Many Pacific countries are able to meet the threshold set by World health report 2006 of 2.28 physicians, nurses   and midwives per 1000 population. But, the same report also states that 57 countries are in critical shortages of skilled health professionals. Hence, the question is does workforce-to-population ratio capture the quality of the health workforce or just equity?

The twelfth Pacific health ministers meeting has endorsed Commitments for Action to ensure a quality health workforce to meet regional demand. This will:

  • Ensure more fit-for-purpose health workforce and more equitable distribution of health workers, especially for strengthening primary health care.
  • Strengthen health workforce management and improve health workforce data.
  • Ensure continuing professional development for the health workforce.
  • Task Pacific Heads of Health to explore the most appropriate regional coordination mechanism to address health workforce issues including clinical workforce that require regional governance.

However, the Pacific’s distinct and unique geography spreads over 180 million square kilometres, or a third of the world’s land mass. The region includes 22 Pacific island countries and territories (PICTs), of which there are more than 200 mountainous volcanic islands and approximately 2,500 flat islands and atolls. This makes providing access to quality health care services extremely challenging and nearly impossible to implement a “one size fits all” solution to overcome the health related challenges.

The smaller populations need a relatively higher health workers-to-population ratio to provide even basic primary and preventive care. Additionally, the recent shift in the scope of practice for the nurses is partly being driven by the other issues: non-communicable diseases, communicable diseases and diseases related to climate change. This has caused significant implication on the health budget for several Pacific countries. Nevertheless, in the recent years the Pacific has made big steps forward in expanding UHC, including increasing life expectancy, broadening vaccination rates and strengthening its hospital and health services. Key to this has been ensuring that the Pacific’s health workforce receives the most up-to-date and relevant training and skills development. More than 50,000 health workers have signed up for online classes since 2003, according to the Pacific Open Learning Health Net (POLHN) external evaluation by University of Technology, Sydney. That’s about 27,525 continuing professional development (CPD) free online health certificates, over 1,302 post graduate sponsorships and 362 graduates.

This platform, developed by WHO, enables colleges and universities that are looking to enter the online market in the area of medical, nursing and health science to host and deliver free online courses with a certificate of completion. Being governed by the outcomes of the regional bodies like Pacific Ministers of health and Head of Health provides POLHN with an advanced understanding of the skill gaps and other workforce constraints. This type of online education has dramatically changed the health sector. It has not only eased transitioning of workers into new roles but has also made education accessible and affordable. The 2017 POLHN external review by University of Technology, Sydney, identified that 75% of POLHN-sponsored post-graduates remained in their own countries during and after the study. Moreover, 87% of post-graduates stated that involvement in POLHN's free online certificate courses has been very or extremely useful for their health sector position. While some traditionalists may remain skeptical of the quality of online education, unsustainable and poor quality  programms are not available due to the stringent licensure system. Online education will become an essential component of a diverse workforce to bridge the skill gap for health-care professionals in the coming years, especially nurses. For more information, contact: Mr. Mohammed Yasin, Technical Officer, Pacific Open Learning Health Net, Division of Pacific Technical Support,

One Person Dies Every 40 Seconds Due to Suicide

One Person Dies Every 40 Seconds Due to Suicide

With a 30% increase since 1999, The United States of America alone has lost nearly 45,000 lives to suicide in 2016. It is important to know and to understand the warning signs for self-harm. Besides these below-mentioned signs, POLHN also offers a free online mental health course for healthcare workers, professionals and communities members at large.

The 12 Suicide Warning Signs

  • Feeling like a burden
  • Being isolated
  • Increased anxiety
  • Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Increased substance use
  • Looking for a way to access lethal means
  • Increased anger or rage
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Talking or posting about wanting to die
  • Making plans for suicide

Around 30% of suicides in the world are due to pesticide self-poisoning. Removing access to means of suicide is an effective method of prevention. Establishment and implementation of effective strategies like controlling use and dissemination of pesticides, firearms and certain medications can help with suicide prevention. Early identification and effective management by health workers is a key to ensuring that people receive the care they need.

  • Preventing suicide involves everyone in the community.
  • Strengthen access to and delivery of care.
    • Establish support system; phone, online, peers, colleagues, and religious centres.
  • Create protective environments.
    • Establish a healthy office, stigma-free culture, and supportive policies.
  • Connect people within their communities.
    • Create events and social gathering to empower youth and vulnerable.
  • Teach coping and problem-solving skills.
    • Introduce related curriculum, support mechanism and risk identification at school.
  • Prevent future risk.
    • Introduce multisectoral approach to minimize media sensitized headlines
  • Identify and support people at risk.


Everyone can learn the signs of suicide, how to respond, and where to access help. Learning can be structured through an online mental health course. Suicides are preventable and everyone can play a role. This can be a family member, friend or colleague who listens closely or encourages help-seeking, a health worker who openly asks about suicidal thoughts or previous attempts, the community who identifies people at risk and provides support. It can also be a policymaker who takes leadership and brings different stakeholders together. They can all provide social support to vulnerable individuals and engage in follow-up care, fight stigma, and support those bereaved by suicide.

  1. Ask.
  2. Keep them safe.
  3. Be there.
  4. Help them connect.
  5. Follow up

Read more

Improving Online Learning Experience for CWM Hospital Nurses

Improving Online Learning Experience for CWM Hospital Nurses

The need for nurses to be knowledgeable, highly trained and well-educated is becoming essential. Today, nurses are required to make complex clinical decisions, that 25 years ago would almost undoubtedly have been made by doctors. The nursing scope is governed by the need driven by the contemporary population. This has increased the need for change in nursing education and continuing professional development to ensure that nurses and midwives are well equipped with knowledge and skills to make more complex decisions.

Registered Nurse, Navua Hospital

The nursing profession is the largest single health profession in Fiji. Re-evaluating skill gap is critical to ensure continuing education addresses the demand required by the scope of practice, to create a sustainable nursing workforce for Fiji. Pacific Open Learning Health Net (POLHN) intern Ms Joy Juillard, Master of Science graduate from the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom, is currently conducting a study at Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) to better understand the needs of contemporary nursing.

Joy said, “this study aims to show nurses' perceptions of online continuing education (CE) and to find perceived factors which facilitate, enhance or hinder the adoption and educational impact of E-Learning”. Around 740 nurses are expected to participate in a week-long survey where CWMH Unit Deputy Director of Nursing Matron Luisa, Matron Mere, Matron Randi, and Matron Mekita are playing vital roles in distributing and collecting data from registered nurses. The survey is expected to gather data related to the revised CE needs and will look at the best approaches to deliver a continuous supply of CE. “The idea behind the survey is to understand the needs of CWM hospital nurses in order to deliver enhanced learning experience they can use to advance nursing care and patient satisfaction”, said Technical Officer of POLHN, Mohammed Yasin. Due to the increasing responsibility and the shifting needs, it will be challenging for the shift working nurses to attend face-to-face CE. Hence, POLHN is planning to bridge the demand and supply gap by increasing the number of topics provided through its online platform. POLHN offers free online health courses with certificates. Fiji Nursing Decree 2011 (No. 41 of 2011) requires nurses and midwives to complete a minimum of 20 continuing professional development (CPD) hours directly relevant to a nurse or midwife’s context of practice. POLHN strives to provide an undisrupted supply of free self-directed learning to health workers all around Pacific Island Countries.