10th Catherine Wotton Nursing scholarship awarded to Aileen Wilkinson

In our time: the elimination of Cervical Cancer

The worldwide elimination of Cervical Cancer is in sight. It is a reality, not just a wish.

Few diseases reflect global health disparities as starkly as cervical cancer. Tools exist to prevent and find this cancer early yet over 600,000 women and people with a cervix will develop cervical cancer each year and more than 300,000 will die of the disease. 90% of deaths from cervical cancer in 2018 occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences has played a key role in advancing the cause through extensive local and international research.

The potential for nurses to contribute to elimination within Australia is called out in the draft National Action Plan on Cervical Cancer Elimination but there are systemic and other barriers to nurses achieving their full potential within the elimination agenda.

To overcome these barriers, philanthropic funding through the Catherine Wotton Ovarian Cancer Scholarship is making a significant difference at MDHS.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Catherine Wotton Ovarian Cancer Scholarship, with nurses supported over the past decade to further their education and training in gynaecological cancers.

Marian Barrett Lecture

On the 11th May, the eve of International Nurses Day, the Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the annual Catherine Wotton Nursing Scholarship as part of the Marian Barrett Lecture, which included a panel discussion on the role of nurses - past, present and future - in the elimination of cervical cancer.

At the event the 10th recipient of the scholarship, Aileen Wilkinson, was presented with the Catherine Wotton Ovarian Cancer Scholarship.

Aileen Wilkinson awarded Catherine Wotton Nursing Scholarship

The aim of the scholarship is to address the shortage of gynaecological nurses, so that women are supported through their cancer journey, while also raising awareness of gynaecological cancers amongst women in the community.

“The Catherine Wotton Scholarship has given me the opportunity to improve patient care, and I am truly grateful for this scholarship and the chance to make a difference in the field of nursing,” Aileen Wilkinson said.

“I am extremely grateful to the family and friends of Catherine Wotton for their contributions to help fund nurses seeking further education and feel extremely lucky to be the tenth recipient of this scholarship,” she said.

The Scholarship Fund was established in recognition of Catherine Wotton’s significant 37-year contribution to nursing and her courageous battle with ovarian cancer.

“Cath was a gentle person, an empathetic and compassionate listener and above all someone who went above and beyond for her patients. These qualities along with evidenced base care are bedrock skills and attributes for all nurses and particularly those caring for women with gynaecological cancer,”  Janet Joss, a close friend and colleague of Catherine Wotton said.

“Thank you to all who have made the Catherine Wotton Ovarian Cancer Scholarship possible. It ensures the best quality care for individuals, their families and carers impacted by cancer. Educating cancer nurses has helped shape cancer care in Australia,” said Professor Marie Gerdtz, Head of the Department of Nursing.