New nursing scholarship for Indigenous students

Published: Wednesday 31st August 2016

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students aspiring to be nurses now have a greater chance of success thanks to the launch of a scholarship offered by Australian Catholic University (ACU) and St John of God Health Care NSW Services.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that in 2015 there were 360,008 registered nurses and midwives in NSW, and only 1.1 per cent of those were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. While the general health of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is slowly improving, there is still a lack of access to health services for many in remote locations.

Access can be improved by having more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in the health sector, and educational opportunities will play an integral role in achieving this.

The new nursing scholarship was announced at the St John of God Hawkesbury Hospital in August, and launched with a smoking ceremony conducted by Uncle Wes and a welcome by Aunty Edna of the Darug people.

St John of God Health Care NSW Services has pledged to donate $120,000 over the next six years, and each recipient of the scholarship will receive $10,000 per year for three years.

Smoking ceremony

The Acting Group Director of Mission, Cathy Scott, said that St John of God was committed to reconciliation and was delighted to be partnering with ACU to deliver the scholarship.

“Having access to funding and training in this medical surgical hospital and in our psychiatric hospitals at Burwood and [North] Richmond will not only benefit the students but will enhance our commitment to whole person care,” she said.

ACU’s State Head of School for Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Amanda Johnson, said the scholarship was part of the University’s strategy to increase access for Indigenous students.

St John of God Health Care Acting Group Director of Mission, Cathy Scott & ACU Chief Operating Officer, Dr Stephen Weller officially signing the scholarship agreement

Applications will open on 19 September 2016 and close on 8 January 2017, and can be made via ACU’s Scholarship Browser. For more details visit

Students needing information on how to apply can contact the scholarships office at or the Indigenous Higher Education Coordinator Daniel Dent at

From L to R, Annalise Vogel, National Manager ACU Foundation; Andrew Nee, Director of Mission, SJOG Burwood Hospital; Cathy Scott, SJOGHC Acting Group Director of Mission; Dr Stephen Weller, ACU COO; Lisa Connell, Director of Mission, SJOG Hawkesbury Hospital; Amanda Johnson, State Head for ACU School of Nursing, Paramedicine & Midwifery; Dinidu Illangakoon, Donor Relationship Manager, ACU Foundation; Danielle Dent, ACU Indigenous Higher Education Unit Coordinator.