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Karen Orr Nurse Immunisation Education Scholarship – 2023 applications now open

NCIRS is pleased to announce that applications for the Karen Orr Nurse Immunisation Education Scholarship are now open. 

This scholarship is dedicated to the late Karen Orr, who was a highly valued staff member of the Centre. Throughout her career, Karen was an exemplary role model for nurses and a passionate advocate for vaccination who made significant contributions to the fields of paediatric nursing and immunisation.

In her role as a clinical nurse consultant at NCIRS, Karen was instrumental in establishing the New South Wales Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS), which provides an expert phone advice line for clinicians and a specialist immunisation clinic for children and their families. She also led the development of the Drop-in Immunisation Clinic at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, which offers opportunistic immunisation for patients and visitors.  

Karen recognised the critical importance of research and played an active role in a nation-wide National Health and Medical Research Council-funded research project on febrile seizures post-vaccination; she also provided valuable input to the Australian Government Department of Health publication ‘Questions about Vaccination’. She contributed to NCIRS publications on vaccine coverage and the evaluation of measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccines in Australia and shared her knowledge at many public and primary health conferences, where she was an inspiring speaker.

This scholarship, which is awarded annually, offers a nurse or midwife up to $1,000 in funding to further their education by attending a conference or course to enhance their immunisation practice.

Previous winners of the scholarship include:

  • Rebecca Curr, Immunisation and Surveillance Clinical Nurse Manager, Public Health Unit, Northern Territory Health – Attended Communicable Diseases Immunisation Conference 2022 in Sydney
  • Mary Barnett, Clinical Nurse, Queensland Adult Specialist Immunisation Service – Attended Communicable Diseases Immunisation Conference 2022 in Sydney
  • Patrick Gould, Mental Health Research Fellow – Vaccine Equity – Attended and presented at the 46th International Mental Health Nursing Conference in the Gold Coast. 

To be eligible for the scholarship, you must:

  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident;
  • be a registered nurse or a midwife (A List) with current registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency; and 
  • have an appropriate post-registration qualification as an authorised nurse immuniser.

Applications are open now and close at 11:59pm (AEST) on Monday 5 June 2023. 

For more information and to apply, click here