RCH nurse wins prestigious scholarship to advance care

Donna Eade, Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC) with the RCH Gender Service, is the proud recipient of the 2016 Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship.

She is grateful for the opportunities the $50,000 scholarship offers her to develop the clinical component of her advanced practice nursing role to produce the best outcomes for the RCH’s gender diverse and transgender patients.

“It’s an absolute privilege to receive this generous scholarship. Nurses don’t often get opportunities like this without scholarships, so it is incredibly empowering to be recognised and supported in developing my nursing role”.

Chromosomes and hormones determine the sex that we are born with. For most people this aligns with one’s gender or the inherent sense of being male or female. For someone who identifies as being transgender, the sex they were born does not match with their gender. This distress caused by this discrepancy is referred to as gender dysphoria. Young people who experience gender dysphoria have high rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm and even suicide.

The RCH Gender Service is the first and currently the only multidisciplinary service of its kind in Australia for gender diverse and transgender children and adolescents.

As a member of the RCH nursing team for 25 years, Donna’s clinical interest and qualifications in adolescent health, sexual health and public health, make her an excellent fit for the Service.

Donna’s role as CNC with the RCH Gender Service is unique in Australia. She is the first point of contact for patients and families, and provides them with information, support and guidance. She’s keen to see what other child and adolescent transgender healthcare services are doing to produce the best outcomes for their patients.

Through the scholarship funding, Donna will attend the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) symposium in Amsterdam.

There, she will present a poster on Envisioning the Multidisciplinary Gender Serivce in Melbourne, Australia Using a Program Logic Model. WPATH is responsible for the recommended standards of care adhered to by the RCH Gender Service and the symposium will bring together world leaders in the area to discuss research findings and best practice.

From there, Donna will visit the Adolescent Unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital who are renowned for their excellence in adolescent health and the Tavistock Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Service in London. Donna will then visit key child and adolescent gender services in Canada and America, to identify what aspects of their models of care might translate into her role at the RCH and exchange knowledge between the services.

“Thanks to the RCH Auxiliaries, this scholarship provides me with an invaluable opportunity to see first hand what other child and adolescent transgender services are doing, and how nurses are integrated into their models. Insights gained will then inform how my clinical nursing role can best be developed into one that provides our young transgender patients with nursing care that is positive, relevant to their lives and produces excellent clinical outcomes”.

Support RCH nurses like Donna