Scholarship to fast track Aboriginal Health Practitioners towards becoming Registered Nurses launched

The Aspen Foundation has announced a scholarship program aimed at fast tracking Aboriginal Health Practitioners towards becoming Registered Nurses.

Aboriginal Health Practitioners (AHPs) are a key part of health service delivery in many health services around the country that deliver primary health care to predominantly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aspen Medical and its subsidiary Remote Area Health Corps recognise the important role that AHPs perform but also recognise that some AHPS may choose to undertake additional training and education.

Speaking at the launch of Aspen Medical’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) on Thursday 5th March, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and CEO of the Aspen Foundation, Craig Fitzgerald said: “We are delighted to assist these Aboriginal Health Practitioners build on their existing broad range of skills and undertake a Bachelor of Nursing degree to qualifying as a Registered Nurse. We recognise that this transition involves costs and time away from work to study.

“This is why we have created the Registered Nurse Scholarship Program for Aboriginal Health Practitioners and we are pleased to say that our first two scholarship recipients are enrolled in the program in Darwin.”

The scholarship funding will allow the students to work part-time and study full-time for the reminder of the week thereby compressing the time it will take to attain the degree to 12 – 16 months.

In January 2015, the first two scholarship recipients, Jade Neave and Toni Cooper, commenced their study. Both are progressing very well through their Bachelor of Nursing degrees in Darwin and are expected to graduate mid-to-late 2016.

As part of their commitment to the program the students will work with charities supported by the Aspen Foundation in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory including One Disease, Malpa and Melbourne University Indigenous Eye Health Unit.