New scholarship to deliver 100 endometriosis nurses to regional, rural and remote areas

Endo nurse Lucy Downey. Photo: Supplied

Launched by Endometriosis Australia, in partnership with the Australian College of Nursing (ACN), each scholarship is valued at $2,900.

During the 10-week unit of study, nurses will learn essential attributes to be advocates for all individuals experiencing chronic pelvic pain and endometriosis, a common disease where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows outside it in other parts of the body. Nearly 1 million Australian girls and women live with endometriosis at some point in their life, with the disease often starting in teenagers.

The unit of study will provide students with the necessary theoretical knowledge to improve how they assess and manage endometriosis and pelvic pain in the clinical setting, including exploring endometriosis pathophysiology, pain physiology, and contemporary, evidence-based treatment and management within various clinical settings. A holistic, individual, person-centred approach is core to the unit.

The Endometriosis Australia Nurses Scholarship is a part of Endometriosis Australia’s ongoing campaign, Endo Academy, which is an initiative of Endometriosis Australia to provide further education and training for the endometriosis health and research sector. 

Candidates meeting the following criteria are strongly encouraged to apply: 

  • living in regional, rural, or remote areas,  
  • have diverse backgrounds (First Nations and CALD),  
  • academic background and interest in women’s health. 

Applications will be accepted from 1 September 2024.  

Successful applicants will be announced on 1 December 2024, and the first intake will begin in January 2025.  

Chair of Endometriosis Australia, Monica Forlano, said the scholarships would help address the inequities in healthcare access, especially in rural and remote communities, including reducing the alarming delay from the onset of the first symptoms and diagnosis, which is typically six years. 

“We know many Australians are living with the symptoms of endometriosis undiagnosed for years, especially in rural and remote areas. Having access to an endo nurse can have an enormous impact on patients’ experience – from diagnosis to treatment,” she said.

Woolgoologa nurse Lucy Downey recently completed her graduate certificate in community and primary health care, specialising in endometriosis and chronic pain, at ACN. She is now using her knowledge to raise awareness of endometriosis among other nurses and to help educate and connect with those living in her rural community who are affected by endometriosis.

“Nurses are advocates for patients, and we have much more time to spend with them than doctors or other healthcare professionals,” she said.

“If we are upskilled in conditions like endometriosis, it means we have the potential ability to recognise the signs and symptoms faster, even through seemingly unrelated conversations with patients, ultimately improving the quality of care patients receive.”

“The fact that this new scholarship is focused on upskilling nurses in regional and rural areas is important to improving care for those who could have potentially gone undiagnosed or experienced a significant delay in diagnosis.”

Learn more about Endometriosis Australia and the scholarship program here

2 Responses

  1. I currently work as a community nurse in Sydney. I am interested in continence and women’s health. I would like to learn more about this educational opportunity.

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