‘Pathway of hope’ for Indigenous nurses

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Epworth HealthCare has launched a nursing initiative to give potentially life-changing support for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The $15,000 scholarship, provided by Epworth Medical Foundation, covers three years of the recipient’s study plus an offer of work experience and mentoring at the Victoria-based group’s Geelong hospital for the duration of the degree.

“This initiative will make a difference to some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” said Scott Bulger, Executive Director Epworth Medical Foundation and Brand. 

“Furthering education is such a worthwhile goal and we are so proud to add this new scholarship to our community philanthropy work.”

The inaugural recipient is Taylah Purcell, a Bachelor of Nursing student at Deakin Geelong who plans to study Honours after finishing her degree.

“I believe in always putting others first, when I can. It has always been a passion of mine to help others, as I believe I feel great pleasure in giving another person happiness,” she said. 

“I greatly appreciate this very generous donation I have been awarded and will be forever grateful for this fantastic opportunity and I feel extremely proud of myself for winning this great award.”

Ms Purcell said a 10-day volunteer trip to Cambodia on the ‘Schoolies With A Cause’ program had been pivotal in deciding her career path.

“This experience helped concrete my dreams of becoming a nurse and opened my mind to new ideas.

“I am striving to work as hard as I can at university, to give myself the best possible outcome for when I am finished my study,” she said. 

“I hope to travel to a low-income country, or remote Australia, to work in indigenous communities as a nurse.”

The Epworth HealthCare Indigenous Nursing Scholarship was introduced as part of the group’s Reconciliation Action Plan to provide support for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Deakin University’s Scholarship Program Officer, Emily Laurie, said such initiatives allowed students to dedicate more time to their studies and achieving their goals. 

“As our communities and industries heal from the changes of 2020, scholarships are an incredible pathway of hope for our students,” she said.

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