Sisterhood of the Travelling Poo: Nurses' Instagram account raises awareness of bowel cancer.

A group of nurses in Brisbane have started an Instagram account posting photos of a toy poo in iconic places around the world.

Ward 6E colorectal clinical nurses from the Wesley Hospital started the account earlier this year to raise awareness about bowel cancer.

Named Bristol, after the international stool scale, the emoji poo toy has been photographed in Brazil, Mexico, Bail and Scotland and on numerous beaches around Australia.

“He’s a very well-travelled poo, he gets around,” nurse and creator Steph Young said.

Another beautiful day in #Scotland for #BristolThePoo #sisterhoodofthetravellingpoo #happypoo #healthypoo #bowelnurse #ward6e

A photo posted by Bristol The 6E Poo (@sisterhoodofthetravellingpoo) on


“Our manager came up with the idea and encouraged us to take the poo away because as nurses we travel a lot.

“So we take him with us and take photos of him travelling.

“It can be interesting holding a toy poo through Customs.”
The team chose Instagram as a platform to spread the message not only nationally, but internationally.

“We’re getting messages and likes from people all over the world,” Ms Young said.

“Many young people think it’s an old person’s disease, but it’s not and Instagram connects with younger people.

“It normalises poo — it’s really important to talk about it and we wanted to start that conversation.”


‘We talk about poo all the time’

Co-creator Jemma Ambrose said the photos had showed people that poo did not have to be a taboo subject.

“People see the photos and it gets them talking and discussing poo and bowel health more,” she said.

“For us, we’re bowel nurses, so we talk about poo all the time.

“It’s the first question we ask our patients each morning.”

Ms Ambrose said the nurses wanted people to notice the signs of bowel cancer early.

“Many people with the symptoms of bowel cancer just think it’s an upset stomach and they don’t do anything about it,” she said.

Living it up Bali style! Having some well deserved time out. #relax #innerpeace #bowelcancerawarenessmonth #bowelcancerawareness

A photo posted by Bristol The 6E Poo (@sisterhoodofthetravellingpoo) on


“If bowel cancer is found early on, about 90 per cent of the cases can be treated successfully.
“At the moment only 40 per cent of cases are found early enough to treat, and what we want to do is raise awareness for that early detection.”

Curious carry-on

When travelling, the nurses always ensure that Bristol is in their carry-on luggage.

“Generally he’s on the plane, not in check-in, as then people see him and ask questions about it,” Ms Ambrose said.

“I took him all the way to Brazil with me and he was my pillow for the 25-hour flight.”

Colonoscopy all-clear

The doctors and surgeons at the inner-city hospital have been encouraging of the nurses’ project.

“They are very supportive,” Ms Ambrose said.

“They even gave Bristol a colonoscopy recently and he had the all-clear.”

The group hopes to take Bristol to Paris soon and photograph him near the Eiffel Tower.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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