Tammylee Chatwin
Tammylee Chatwin

Tammylee Chatwin

Indigenous Health Scholarship

Federation University, VIC

Bachelor of Nursing
Scholarship Awarded 2021 – 2022

Sponsored by:
Dr King Gan

Indigenous Health Scholarship Program

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

Becoming a nurse was something I never thought I would do but it has ended up the most amazing experience of my life. I started an Aboriginal Trainee-ship in Nursing in 2013 and have achieved my Diploma in Nursing. In this time I was given the opportunity to become a founding member of the Aboriginal Resources Group and the work we have done has shown a huge different in Indigenous health outcomes and our Indigenous patients reported feeling more comfortable staying in the hospital for all their treatment. This in turn has resulted in a reduction in representations to hospital for the same diagnosis. This has brought me great pride and ended up being the light-bulb moment that has led me to continue my studies and completing my Bachelor of Nursing.

As the years have passed I have noticed there are not enough Indigenous nurses working in the hospital system and certainly none in a nursing related leadership role within the hospital in our regional town. We have a large Indigenous population in the East Gippsland area and I feel privileged to be able to help my community. By obtaining my Bachelor of Nursing I can then expand my knowledge base and gain experience in remote areas of Australia to bring back to my home town.

One of my assessments for University was to design a program for a chronic health condition, our group chose 16-24 year old Indigenous male youth and their liquid sugar intake and the increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. On assessment day of our display and talk for our ‘Liquid Sugar Project’ the assessor stated she was speechless and the feedback from our peers was amazing. We ended up winning best project with our display and because of the passion we all put into this project we ended up with a commendation from the Dean. I could see how we could make change to the said population and felt that the program we had designed could actually be sued in the community. In doing this it reiterated to me that I was on the right track. Achieving my dream of a university degree I could actually be a leader fro change in my community along with being the first person in my family to achieve a university degree.

Current Progressive Report

It has been a very challenging year for me both professionally and personally and I along with everyone else will be hoping for a better 2022. The last year along with COVID-19 I have had to deal with a child that had a serious accident that required a semester of school and restricted to bed rest with toilet privileges. I work at hospital so there was no rest for me. I would drive home and check on my child during breaks and had to enlist his 16 year old brother to help care for him. This along with study was sometimes difficult but I did manage to get HD in all classes that semester which I am proud of.

I started at a vaccination center and worked often 12-hour days 6 days a week as there was no staff or very big shortages everywhere. I feel that this made the 2nd half of the year suffer a little academically, but the experience has been amazing. I have been helping the local Aboriginal Health Unit during the outbreak in our community and would travel to areas COVID swabbing attending health checks and vaccinating. It has now opened many doors for me for the future and is an area I can see myself working in once I complete my Bachelor of Nursing. There was a highlight I won Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander of the year for Federation University.

I would like to finish with a huge Thank You without scholarships like this I would find it very hard to even afford to attend university and now I am at the finish line and will have my Bachelor of Nursing.

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