South Australian Prince of Wales Award winners

This article has photo gallery Published on LS Rebecca Elliot (author), CPL Colin Dadd (photographer)

Topic(s): Reserves, Prince of Wales Awards

Prince of Wales Award recipient Lieutenant Commander Paul Wirth (left) and his employer, Ms Cathy Lyon (centre right), from the Women's and Children's Hospital South Australia, are presented their awards by Chair Defence Reserves Support Council - SA, Dr Andrew Cannon, AM (centre left) and Head Reserve and Youth Division, Rear Admiral Bruce Kafer, AM, CSC, RANR. (photo: CPL Colin Dadd)
Prince of Wales Award recipient Lieutenant Commander Paul Wirth (left) and his employer, Ms Cathy Lyon (centre right), from the Women's and Children's Hospital South Australia, are presented their awards by Chair Defence Reserves Support Council - SA, Dr Andrew Cannon, AM (centre left) and Head Reserve and Youth Division, Rear Admiral Bruce Kafer, AM, CSC, RANR.

Navy Reservists comprised three of the five Prince of Wales recipients awarded their prizes in South Australia over the past several months.

The Prince of Wales Award (POWA) Scheme provides a development opportunity for ADF Reservists to enhance their individual skill sets in their chosen civilian occupation or profession.

The experience and knowledge gained provides ongoing benefits to the civilian employer, Defence and the individual Reservist while promoting cooperation and support between Defence and Civilian Employers.   

Lieutenant Commander Paul Wirth - Prince of Wales Award recipient 

Lieutenant Commander Paul Wirth is a Reservist Nursing Officer who works as a Clinical Nurse in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Women’s & Children’s Hospital (WCH) in Adelaide.

Lieutenant Commander Wirth and his employer are exploring the feasibility of establishing an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation service in the Women and Children’s Hospital.

The Award enabled Lieutenant Commander Wirth to travel to the United Kingdom to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital, initially to spend one week’s clinical observation of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) procedure being used in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. This was to primarily look at policies, procedures, corporate and clinical governance plus the training liability of establishing such a service at the WCH. 

Great Ormond Street Hospital also offered Lieutenant Commander Wirth the opportunity to undertake the ECMO course that they conduct biannually. The course was intensive, comprising theoretical lessons, practical skills plus simulation training.

In their own words, the other two South Australian winners describe their successful submissions:

Petty Officer Nicola Farinola - Prince of Wales Award recipient

“The nature of the Prince of Wales activity was to attend the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) conference, held concurrently with London International Shipping Week in September 2017. The DSEI conference is one of the premier industry events. My aim was to investigate the advantages and performance of new military specification paints against traditional paint systems currently in service, in addition to investigating new engineering technologies. 

“The objective of my attendance at the conference was to confirm existing and potential new technologies that may benefit the way my employer, and the Royal Australian Navy, does business. 

“An additional benefit in attending the conference was to understand the work conducted so far by military industry giants that focus their research on developing new emerging technologies. This insight is vital to determine where additional cost savings can be made, increase sea day availability for all naval vessels and maintain our focus on being environmentally conscious.”

Lieutenant Nathan Ebel - Prince of Wales Award recipient

“Earlier this year I was honoured to receive a Prince of Wales Award to support a post graduate certificate in Aeromedical Retrieval. My current civilian employment is with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) in Adelaide where I am a clinical nurse in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Our unit cares for critically unwell children and has a catchment area that includes all of SA, most of the NT as well as western parts of QLD, VIC and NSW. While we no longer undertake retrieval services in house at the WCH we often undertake ‘intra’ hospital transport, and in the paediatric setting intensive care personnel undertake far more initial management than in adult services. 

“Undertaking this course has allowed me to gain a strong theoretical framework in the pre-hospital medical space, as well  as a fundamental understanding of aviation physiology. Over the course of six months, everything from basic aviation to complex clinical governance considerations were considered. A practical component with hands on extrication, transport, crew resource management and assessment was undertaken in Townsville during the period of study.

“During the practical component it was found that many other participants and faculty were also members of the ADF and Reserves allowing for excellent networking and a deeper appreciation as the spread was tri-service.”