I was not ready to go back to the university as a full-time student to pursue my post graduate studies. The idea of undertaking a post graduate certificate after a very long break was daunting. I was worried about leaving my family, quitting my job and relocating to another new place. All this looked very overwhelming until I learnt about POLHNs online post graduate sponsorship program through Fiji National University.
One night while watching TV, I Google searched POLHN, read the requirements on the website, filled out two forms, which were availa
ble on the website and emailed them to POLHN. A day later, I received an email from POLHN saying that my application for the online post graduate certificate in public health was incomplete and I was required to submit some university documents. Following the email, I received the call from the POLHN country coordinator. We talked about everything; from my work roster to the planned family events. He sent me the list of things that I needed to complete. After a few days I got a reminder email, to be honest I forgot that I was required to send more documents. T
hat reminder emailed changed my whole life; that same afternoon, I completed and sent the documents.
Following my email to POLHN, I was asked if I wanted to be part of the POLHN mailing list. Quickly after joining the mailing list, I became familiar with other applicants and alumni. In a few weeks, I became part of the bigger group and felt I knew everything about the program and how POLHN sponsorship works.
Before I realised it, I received an email from POLHN with the offer letter. It allowed me to study from the comfort of my own home and I continued working as a full time registered nurse.
I was very happy that I was able to choose my study pace. The program allowed me flexibility; spending quality time with family after work I used to log into the POLHN’s online learning platform well into the night. I never felt that I was overloaded and pressured. The whole experience was very seamless.
The best thing was, all my studies were delivered online and I never paid for anything that I studied.
In 2010, I completed a POLHN sponsored post graduate certificate in Public Health from Fiji National University. After my first post graduate qualification, I knew I wanted more; I applied for POLHN sponsored post graduate certificate in Health Service Management. In 2013, I completed my second post graduate certificate.
POLHN changed my life for the better. It provided me with the opportunity to improve my skills, knowledge, competencies and overall understanding of the health system. It was truly an amazing learning experience as I had the freedom to learn at my own convenience and at my own pace. Now I am able to contribute effectively to the national strategic documents. My contributions are valued by my supervisors. This opportunity was just the push I needed.
Thank you POLHN.
Shashi Lata (Registered Nurse, Samabula Health Centre)
Edited by: Margaret Goydych