Indigenous Health Scholarship 2019

Monash University, VIC
Bachelor of Nursing
Scholarship Awarded 2019
Sponsored by:

Peter Lewis

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

To contribute to improving Indigenous health as a registered nurse and qualified medical health practitioner I plan on doing so in numerous ways.   I will provide cultural safety and respect to not only all my patients but especially those that identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.   I will provide them with dignity and confidentiality as well linking them with an Aboriginal Liaison Officer if they wish so.   This can help with myself providing health education and nursing in a way that is culturally appropriate, safe and dignified.

Where possible I will also take the time to yarn with my Indigenous patients, getting to know them, their culture and ensuring my nursing care and management strategies are individualised and tailored to specific needs.

After my graduate year of nursing I am also going to go and get experience working in rural and remote Indigenous communities.   I have always had ties and a passion to visit these communities and have seen first-hand the disadvantages they can experience being so far from health clinics and hospitals.   whilst visiting Tiwi Islands I spent time in a school and built a wonderful relationship with the students and the woman of Bathurst Island and received such great hospitality.   To go back and be able to provide back to them through health care and education would be not only amazing but also rewarding.

Another way I will contribute to improving Indigenous health is by managing my own health.   Through study and experience, I know that we are predisposed to lower life expediencies and several potentially life limiting or threatening diseases.   I want to be able to lead by example.

I also have a keen interest and know the importance of health promotion and education in helping prevent health issues.  My main focus and interest is achieving this through diet and exercise and would love to be able to do this whilst attending schools and educating children.    By teaching these younger generations I would love to be able to make a real difference.

Whilst in my graduate year of nursing I hope to work in a hospital in the surrounding suburbs of Melbourne to gain a wide variety of skills

Current Progressive Report

At the beginning of the year I was excited and a little nervous to be heading into my final year of nursing. Whilst I now was familiar with Uni life I knew the expectations would be higher and the course work harder. But like always I love a challenge.

This year Monash Uni trialled an integrated placement which I was placed into. This meant that rather than doing a block (5 continuous weeks) placement, I would now be at Uni one week then on placement for a week. This would then alternate for the remainder of the semester. Initially I was looking forward to be able to put my theory into practice only days after learning meaning that the information was fresh rather than wait until the semester finished and placement began.

I was placed at Frankston Hospital in a Gastro/Gen Med ward for my specialty placement. The staff were welcoming and I made it clear early on to my buddy what my learning goals were and what I was hoping to take away from this experience. These were to gain practical skills, comfortably take on a full patient load, build confidence and learn more about admissions and discharges. I learnt in my diploma of nursing that showing interest and initiative shows that you are there to make the absolute most out of the placement.

By the third week of placement It became clear I was starting to burn out from the study and placement workload. I spoke to the other students doing integrated placement and we all felt the same. We believed it to be due to the fact we still had essays due during placement and the same dates as those students that were on block placement.

I am now currently participating in a study being conducted by Monash Uni regarding the benefits and negatives of integrated placement. This involved me attending a focus group and completing voice diary entries at the end of each placement week in semester 2. Whilst this study will not see any change or benefit for myself it will for future students.

Towards the end of placement and semester I fell ill and lost a best friend to suicide. So it was a really tough few weeks. I took advantage of the psychologist at Uni and notified my unit coordinators. With this support I was able to successfully complete placement, uni and my exam all with no extensions and a distinction average.

The scholarship I received  was so helpful and it must be noted that my success in semester 1 was largely due to it too. It meant that while I was on placement and around the time of my exam I wasn’t under financial strain to pick up extra shifts at work and then I was able to focus on my studies without my grades suffering too much.