WNSW PHN Scholarships to Deliver Movement Disorder Specialists to the Region


The Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) is providing specialist nursing care training to assist Western Region residents living with neurological conditions including Parkinson’s through its Movement Disorder Nurse Specialist (MDNS) pilot program.

With World Parkinson’s Day on Sunday April 11, WNSW PHN is pleased to report that 11 Registered Nurses from across the region have received scholarships to access theoretical knowledge, practical skills through industry placement, and ongoing mentoring and network support through the program.

WNSW PHN Acting CEO, Robert Strickland, says that, once trained, these 11 nurses will be delivering vital services to their local communities.

“Somewhere in Australia, there is a person being diagnosed with Parkinson’s every 40 minutes, so delivering training like this to assist those affected by neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s, is absolutely vital, especially across our regional and remote areas,” said Mr Strickland.

WNSW PHN Program Manager Chronic Disease, Alison Stoker, says the program will be delivering substantially improved health outcomes for patients.
“More Movement Disorder Nurse Specialists that understand the challenges of managing these issues in our region will mean more trained staff in more locations being more readily available, reducing distance barriers and delivering more timely and personalised care,” said Ms Stoker.

“With the help of Charles Sturt University (CSU), Parkinson’s NSW, Western NSW and Far West Local Health Districts, Australasian Neurological Nurses Association Movement Disorder Chapter and all active partners in the implementation of this pilot program, it’s a brilliant example of how a collaborative approach can deliver real results for local residents.”

Ms Stoker added, “I’m incredibly proud of our 11 scholarship recipients who have already commenced the training for their commitment to improving their skills for the benefit of their communities.”

CSU Associate Professor, Rachel Rossiter, says she is relishing her close involvement in the pilot program.

“The passion and enthusiasm exhibited by the nurses recruited to the program speaks to the commitment that each one of them brings to improving health care for those in their rural and remote communities,” she said.

About the Scholarship Recipients

11 Registered Nurses from across the region have received scholarships to the WNSW PHN MDNS Pilot Program, being one Practice Nurse, one RFDS Nurse, and nine Local Health District Nurses, based in Bathurst, Broken Hill, Coonamble, Dubbo, Grenfell, Molong, Mudgee, Orange, Parkes, Warren and with the RFDS.

Chris Letton – Warren

Warren’s Chris Letton says she was motivated to be part of the MDNS pilot program to gain a greater understanding of Parkinson's disease so able to better support patients.

“My aim is to be able to assist with patient diagnosis, assisting them to access services and to be able to provide information to optimise their quality of life and to also support the families and carers.”

Katie Carolan - Parkes

Katie Carolan from Parkes says the program is a fantastic opportunity to improve her knowledge and skills.

“I am passionate about providing high quality care for my patients, no matter where they live. I hope this course improves my confidence and skills to best support patients and their carers with Parkinson's Disease.”

Didiya Issac – Dubbo

Dubbo’s Didiya Issac says she is determined to expand her service to the best level possible to serve the community.

“Since I have joined the pilot program, I am able to explore more and learn about the struggles of people living with movement disorders and think outside the clinical setting and relate to their lifestyle. I hope to keep on upgrading my knowledge level in this area of care and support those in our community who live with Parkinson’s disease.”

Alison Coote – Orange

Alison Coote from Orange is paring her involvement in the MDNS pilot program with post graduate studies.

“I am very excited to be a part of the MDNS pilot which I believe will assist in establishing and developing a more effective support network for those involved with the care of these people. I hope to see a clinic established in the future that will provide a link between the neurologists and their local health providers.”

Belinda Watson – Grenfell

Grenfell’s Belinda Watson says she is thriving on this new challenge to build on her nursing skills and knowledge.

“It’s such a fantastic opportunity to really start to understand the complexities of Parkinson's disease, while also being a part of a great network with other health professionals both within the Pilot and with other Movement Disorder Specialists. My goal is to be able to provide education to my fellow health professionals, provide my clients with advocacy and support and to work with my clients, their carers and the health professionals involved in their care to assist in maintaining my clients independence, wellbeing and quality of life.”

Pictured: (top row) Chris Letton of Orange, Katie Carolan of Parkes, Didiya Issac of Dubbo
(bottom row) Alison Coote of Orange, Belinda Wilson of Grenfell.