About the Florence Nightingale Grants and Awards

About the Florence Nightingale Grants and Awards

The Florence Nightingale Grants and Awards Committee provide annual Grants and Awards to nurses and midwives in Tasmania. The Committee work closely with the Tasmanian Perpetual Trustee Wealth Ltd who administer the Trust Funds.

In 2019 the Florence Nightingale Study Grants and Awards and the Robyn Whitworth Memorial Trust were merged with the Returned Sisters Association of the Memorial Trust. As the Master Trust Deed, the Returned Sisters Association of the Memorial Trust provides contemporary support for the Committee and efficiencies for Trust Administration. The Grants and Awards still stand alone in their own right for allocation, and future donations and legacies can be allocated to a Grant or Award that the donor requests. The Committee have retained the Florence Nightingale Grants and Awards Committee title as a well known, respected and established brand name.

Florence Nightingale Grants and Awards (FNGA) Committee

The FNGA Committee is an independent organisation comprised of senior nursing and midwifery leaders who direct the annual scholarship program.

The work of the Committee is supported by the Department of Health.

Image of Adj Associate Professor Francine Douce

Committee Chair
Adj Associate Professor Francine Douce

Francine is Tasmania’s Chief Nurse and Midwife and an active member of the Australian College of Nursing and a fellow of the Australian College of Midwives. She has held many senior nursing and midwifery positions (public and private sector) in strategic and organisational leadership; governmental policy; clinical practice; governance including patient safety; professional regulation and accreditation. Francine is an International Commissioner for Pathways to Excellence with the American Nurses Credentialing Centre and the first Tasmanian alumni member for the Global Nursing Institute at the International Council Nursing. Francine is currently combining her Nursing and Midwifery leadership role with the role of Commander of the Aged Care Emergency Operations Centre at the Department of Health.

Image of Dr Louise Nicholson kneeling in front of the Florence Nightingale Grants and Awards Committee Wreath on ANZAC Day

Louise laying a wreath at Hobart Cenotaph on behalf of the Committee on Anzac Day 2019.

Committee Treasurer
Dr Louise Nicholson

Louise is a Nurse Practitioner in Cancer Care at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Louise was awarded the Doctor of Nurse Practitioner (research) degree in March 2019. Louise’s thesis explored “The perceptions of Australian oncology nurse practitioners undertaking research in practice”. Current research includes “Developing a multidisciplinary breast clinic: The Royal Hobart Hospital experience” Louise is a member of a research team which has received 2021 funding through the Royal Hobart Research Foundation to explore “Patient and carer experiences with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndrome”. Louise was awarded the Returned Sisters Grant in 2000 which enable completion of her nurse practitioner degree.

Committee Members
Catherine Schofield
Ms Catherine Schofield

Catherine is the clinical advisor to the Tasmanian Minister for Mental and Health and Wellbeing. Catherine has been a nurse for 40 years working in mental health and drug and alcohol services. She is a passionate and inspirational leader, a practice development facilitator for the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Global Nursing Leadership Program (GNLI) and the International Practice Development Collaborative. Catherine is the Tasmanian practitioner member on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. Previous roles include Chair of the Tasmanian NMBA, clinical advisor to the Tasmanian Minister for Health, Manager of the Wilfred Lopes Centre and Strategic Nurse Coordinator, where she led significant reform to the Northern Tasmanian Mental Health Service. Catherine is also a past recipient of the Florence Nightingale awards and is an alumnus of both the Tasmanian Leaders Program and the ICNs GNLI Program.

Adj Associate Professor Karen Ford
Adj Associate Professor Karen Ford

Karen is Adj Associate Professor with the University of Tasmania School of Nursing. Karen supports the clinical masters program with the school and is an active researcher. A major research interest is children’s experiences of health and illness. The Returned Sisters Memorial Grant (Nursing Leadership Grant) in 2009-2010 led to continuing international collaborations in children’s health care, including child centred care. Other research activities include arts based participatory research methods, leadership development; care of older people and quality clinical placements. Karen has experience in supervision of PhD, Masters and Honours candidates, and support and leadership of clinicians in undertaking research.

Image of Susan Gannon
Ms Susan Gannon

Susan is the Chief Executive for Hospitals South in the Tasmanian Health Service (THS). Susan is responsible for providing overall strategic leadership, governance and direction to the services across Hospitals South. Her previous role was the Statewide Executive Director of Nursing & Midwifery for the THS.

Susan’s diverse experience in Victoria and Queensland in both public and private healthcare, facilitates and strengthens the implementation of new models of practice and care, as well as promoting greater cross collaboration, workforce flexibility, and consumer and stakeholder engagement.

As an experienced senior leader in strategic and operational management of health services, Susan has held previous senior roles in regulation, education, directorships, policy, and project management and has returned to Tasmania where she grew up and initially undertook her nursing education and training.


The Florence Nightingale Grants Committee was established in the 1950s to provide Tasmanian registered nurses with the financial opportunity through Study Grants to undertake postgraduate studies. Many Tasmanian nurses have been awarded Study Grants to undertake post-graduate studies at Higher Education Institutions within and outside Tasmania.

The major source of funding has been through the St John’s Hospital Association and with generous donations from the Tasmanian Nurses and the community. The Tasmanian Department of Health has provided in-kind support to the Committee.

In excess of $500,000 has been awarded in study Grants to Tasmanian Nurses through the Florence Nightingale Grants Committee.

In 1996, restructuring led to the formation of the Florence Nightingale Grants and Awards Committee, an independent nursing organisation which now administers the funds of both the Florence Nightingale (St John’s Hospital Association) Grants and Awards Trust, the Robyn Whitworth Memorial Trust and the Returned Sisters of Tasmania Memorial Trust. All Trust funds are now under the umbrella of the Returned Sisters Association of the Memorial Trust.

You can download a leaflet about the Returned Sisters Association here.

Further information

For further information about the Florence Nightingale Grants and Awards please check the Frequently Asked Questions. If further information is required please send an email as the preferred communication option to the Committee thecommittee@nursesgrantsandawards.com

Or write to:

Florence Nightingale Grants and Awards
5 Short Street
Lindisfarne 7015
Tasmania Australia