Pauline Anderson
Pauline Anderson

Pauline Anderson

Indigenous Health Scholarship

Deakin University, VIC

Bachelor of Nursing
Scholarship Awarded 2021 – 2022

Sponsored by:
Rotary Club of Parramatta

Indigenous Health Scholarship Program

How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?

As an Indigenous woman I have seen the many ailments that have left my people and communities broken, I have grown accustomed to unfortunately hearing about high levels of chronic health conditions and preventable diseases, this played a huge role in my desire and ambition to becoming a nurse.

I started my bachelor’s degree in 2017 but due to moving back home I had to defer, I was determined to get back at studying however and continued my education in 2019. In that time, I had experienced familial death due to chronic disease, I have seen many of my regular patients at work pass away due to these as well and I started thinking to myself, I am a part of this statistic, how do I want to contribute to that change and what can I do as a nursing student and soon to be registered nurse? I have always thought of these questions in my education and it has been a source of motivation, a source of continued hope and determination. The desire to change the narrative on my health and my people’s health.

I currently work in an Indigenous health care organisation and have had the privilege of seeing what work goes into establishing sufficient and ongoing care in our communities. There are many misconceptions and stigmas surrounding seeking help and it has become quite normal for Indigenous men and women to not seek help due to not trusting mainstream help or trusting western medicine, as a nursing student I have seen this play out and I have seen the perspectives of these patients. As a health care professional my goal is to connect to my community and to get them to open up to seeking help, making positive lifestyle choices and being the bridge between connecting them to healthcare services and also providing culturally appropriate care. I have read about closing the gap, I have seen Australian Bureau of Statistics and I have witnessed first-hand the skills needed to ensure that adequate health care is delivered, whether these be health checks or care plans. As a soon to be registered nurse I will be involved in that, I am determined to be the best in that area when it is my turn.

My hope as a healthcare professional as stated is to educate, to passionately tell my people that you can be in control of your health, you have the resources and you have the right people around you to start making those balanced lifestyle choices, we need to take a stand against poor health conditions, we need to make a continued effort to spread information about important health messages and we need to focus on closing the gap between our non-indigenous peers. Not only will I continue to educate, but I will also continue to lead by example and to show that anything is possible in terms of taking control of our health now and not later.

Current Progressive Report

In Semester 1 I studied for my second last core unit in Nursing as well as did my placement in a Neuroscience ward. I found my unit to be interesting and informative as well as the ward that I was working on. It’s been a challenge to keep up with school, work and my personal life such as juggling and balancing family and friends. I often had times where I struggled to keep up and contemplated giving up completely, but I know that I can’t give up on myself and my goals, my community and my passion for health and well-being in my culture runs deep and I know that completing this will only get me to where I want to be. I failed two of my elective studies units, but I was able to get those done in my Semester 2 which I am highly grateful for as I know that I have only that little bit left to go.

As I near the finish line I look back on how far I have come and I realize just how much I have grown and learned for the past three to four years, it has been such a big turning point in my life, and I couldn’t be prouder of how much I have persevered through it all. Looking at my progress I just want other young Indigenous men and women to follow their dreams and passions and to not let their fears and self-doubts get in the way because if I would have let that happen, I would not be where I am today.

I only have 1 more semester and 1 more placement to go but I am forever grateful for it all, it makes me emotional to think of how much time has passed and just how quick life can be, but I believe everything happens for a reason and whatever trials and tribulations I face, I can overcome. I am nearly done, and I can’t wait to start my new journey as an Indigenous Registered Nurse.

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