Indigenous Health Scholarship
Charles Sturt University, NSW
Bachelor of Nursing
Scholarship Awarded 2019 – 2022
Rotary Club of Sutherland & PDG Ron Beslich
Charles Sturt University, NSW
Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health)
Scholarship Awarded 2018
Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga
How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?
I started out in the health field when I was a mere 17 year old. I had completed high school, and had completed subjects in school that I enjoyed, rather than what would set me up for a career. When I commenced a traineeship as an Aboriginal Health Worker, I surprised myself with how much I actually enjoyed learning about health.
I completed an Enrolled Nurse traineeship and found myself employed within the busy and exciting Emergency Department of Wollongong Hospital. I became fascinated with the human body, and how it works and at times, how it fails us.
My current chosen field is Mental Health. I work in a community mental health team based in Goulburn, NSW and a small but developing rural town.
The statistics surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are alarming. The current rate of suicide, especially for young Indigenous men is one of the highest in the world. The prevalent use of alcohol and drugs in Indigenous communities is a contributor to the high rates of suicide and mental health issues experienced by Indigenous people.
By becoming a qualified Aboriginal Mental Health Clinician, I can do my part in closing the gap between my local Goulburn community accessing Aborigianl specific services, and helping to maintain the Aboriginal Workforce numbers, as Goulburn is not a high populated Aboriginal community but Goulburn is severely under sourced in terms of Aboriginal specific services and staff. My nursing and Aboriginal Health Worker background ensures I can use my extensive knowledge to provide a holistic approach to Mental Health, not just a clinical medical model approach.
Current Progressive Report
Hello again everyone! Here we are at another point of reflection of the year that was 2021, and didn’t things escalate quickly! For me, my localities were put into the lockdown with the rest of the state. The most exciting place I got to visit for 6 months was my local grocery store, which then became the most anxiety provoking place with all the notifications from Service NSW!
I missed some milestones during the lockdown, It was the first birthday in my 32 year existence where I didn’t see any of my family in person, we were unable to see my mother for her 50th birthday, or my grandfather for his birthday. Along with the rest of the world, we learnt the value in using online platforms, and the mayhem that comes with having multiple households with small children trying to sing happy birthday at the same time over zoom.
On the positive note, I am very thankful to have a career in an organisation that remained highly regarded and was able to continue to function through the pandemic. We transitioned to working from home where possible (noted that this scholarship helped pay for the start-up costs of my internet service, which I am entirely thankful for!) to have access from my little rural property.
The release from lockdown in November was very welcomed, and we were able to have a small gathering (within the restrictions) to celebrate the missed milestones. It also meant some relief from the restrictions we faced as a community, and as a workplace.
Unfortunately for me, my university pathway meant that there wasn’t any Nursing subjects I was able to complete in the second semester of 2022. So I enrolled and commenced a Post-Graduate certificate in Applied Mental Health Studies through HETI, so I wouldn’t lose my study momentum. I have now completed 4 out 6 subjects, and this is on hold until around July, where I’ll pick up the last 2 subjects for completion.
This year, fingers crossed, should be my last year of the Bachelor of Nursing Course. I have 2 subjects left, both double point subjects with big blocks of placement. I also ‘’owe’ 4 weeks of placement for a subject completed in semester 1 of 2021, that was unable to be completed due to COVID, so this year will be very busy and placement heavy, as well as workplace heavy, I have lots of things on the go for my job, which is exciting but also very daunting.
I do hope that 2021 was kind to you all, and that you had a safe year. I also hope you all got to have a safe and wonderful holiday period, and were able to see your families.
Looking forward to a busy but positive 2022!