How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?
As a young child I move frequently throughout Victoria with my mother and younger brother, I never quite finished a full year of study during my primary school years and got my first job as a checkout operator in a chin supermarket, I never really focused on higher education as most of my family seem to ‘get by’ without it. I helped provide for my family and assist my mother raise my younger brother with this learning needs until I moved back to Victoria.
I moved back to Victoria to allow my father some respite from his role as carer, caring for his mother and brother and their health complications. I was able to get a couple of jobs in my birth town of Orbost but was truly given a break by the local hospital and given the role of Aboriginal Health Liaison. They supported me in gaining my first tertiary qualification – a Cert IV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health Practice, this allowed me to obtain registration as an Aboriginal Health Practitioner.
Utilising this qualification allowed me to help with my local community especially in enabling health promotion for the male population as there were currently no other male health workers at either my hospital or local Aboriginal council to promote ‘men’s business’ or male related health. I then embarked on the journey to becoming a registered nurse, as I feel this qualification could better help my community strive in holistic self determination. Once again my employer is allowing me time off to attend University as they see it as a valuable investment as I am determined to stay in my home town and give back what they have been able to give me.
I am the first in my family to attend university and I feel though it has been hard for me to leave my wife and children to attend these intensives. I am truly grateful that they feel the support for my family, community and the end result will be worth it.
Current Progressive Report
Over the past 12 months life certainly hasn’t been easy, having the first trimester off allowed me to focus on family and myself, re-evaluate a few things and really knuckle down on what I want in life. Our little community was able to stave off COVID until fairly recently this year, the strain that is currently around our community is not as bad and we are still only seeing very minimal cases and almost no “severe” symptoms, which I feel is owed to a high vaccination rate and a mentality of a small town doing what we can to protect the aging population.
Last year had seen me successfully complete my 2nd year of nursing, I was able to complete a 4-week placement in my home town and found it to be most rewarding working with my peers in a new(future?) role. This placement really showed me how valuable and also limited in numbers our nurses are and has given me renewed passion for the role. It was also a nice easing back into nursing after nearly 12 months off.
I’ve now taken on a full-time study load for 2022 and hope to finish my nursing studies with a bang, I’ve also been in conversation with management about the possibility of creating a Registered Undergrad Student of Nursing (RUSON) position at the hospital, which if successful, will see me working on the ward as a student nurse assisting the nursing team and cementing my knowledge.