20 Feb 2018
- Where you are from (Hometown/Nation/People and current location)?
I am a Yamatji-Badimia woman from up Geraldton and Mount Magnet way in Western Australia. I grew up between Geraldton and Perth. I’m currently based in Melbourne.
- Where on the medical continuum are you?
I am a Registered Nurse.
- Current workplace or place of study? (Any interesting placements/experiences)
I completed my Bachelor of Nursing at RMIT University. I currently work at St. Vincents Public Hospital in Melbourne.
- What does a typical day of your life entail and how do you unwind after a day of work/study? (Do you have any additional talents?)
A typical day in my life consists of going to work at the hospital, caring for my patients and taking care of them. On my days off or in my spare time, I also work alongside my Aunty Kerrie Doyle @ RMIT University with the Indigenous Health course as well as delivering and facilitating workshops around the community to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth by sharing my story and encouraging them to enter the health field.
- Who or what was your biggest inspiration in becoming a nurse?
My biggest inspiration in becoming a nurse was definitely my family and my community. I have seen a lot of illness growing up within my own family and community and it motivated me to be apart of changing that. Having the platform to be able to change the status of our people’s health and reducing the health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
- Has AIDA supported you through your studies/career? If so, how?
AIDA hasn’t directly supported me through my studies/career as I am not a member (yet!) but it was definitely an organisation that I knew about and had empowered me by seeing all the deadly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors that are doing so much for our people and our people’s health. My sister is an AIDA student member so witnessing how it shaped her studies as an Aboriginal medical student and how she came home after every conference sharing the stories and what she learnt was definitely motivating and empowering for me.
- Have you encountered any culturally safety issues during your studies/career?
Yes I’ve definitely encountered a fair bit of cultural safety issues when I was in school, university and in my current career. I think as Indigenous people we are prone to it, we are prone to racism, which is quite sad but not surprising. It affected me in so many ways especially as a nursing student. I had been on numerous placements where I witnessed so many health professionals providing an inappropriate level of care to their Indigenous patients as well as being treated a lot differently in comparison to other nursing students because I was Aboriginal.
- What inspires you within the medical profession? (Particularly Indigenous medicine)
I think something that always inspires me and still surprises me till this day, is Bush Medicine. We have been using traditional medicine for thousands of years and we still do! Back home we always used our traditional medicine, in Badimia language we call it Guruma. We used Guruma to treat certain skin conditions, infections, burns etc. to treat the illnesses we had. I had done a fair bit of work in Indigenous Health research particularly in Traditional Medicine alongside Aunty Kerrie Doyle.One other thing that inspires me within Indigenous medicine is seeing the rising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals that are so passionate about changing the way of our people’s health by using our identity and culture as a main source of strength.
- Have you been a mentee or mentor? What has your experience been?
Mentoring is something our people have been doing for thousands of years, it’s apart of who are we and our culture. I have been a mentee and a mentor. My parents have been my mentors, my aunties and my uncles have pushed me to be where I am today.I have been a mentor for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, I still am. Being given the platform to share my story and telling our kids that you can do it, I thought I could never do it but here I am. Being a voice for our kids and pushing them to believe in themselves is empowering, not for me but for them.
- What field of medicine is your passion?
I would definitely have to say Indigenous health – particularly traditional medicine.
- Have you won any awards/prizes/scholarships or other notable achievements? (Not restricted to just medicine)
I have been nominated for upcoming award, HESTA’s Graduate of the Year. I have done a fair bit of work in sharing my story, our people’s health in documentary series, workshops etc.
I was the face of the 2017 Close the Gap report as well as shared my story with Oxfam’s Close the Gap video series.A few weeks ago I was invited to the 2018 Close the Gap Parliamentary Breakfast to be one of the three speakers alongside the likes of Aunty June Oscar, Uncle Tom Calma and my uncle Rod Little in front of the Prime Minister, the Opposition, Greens Party and all of the deadly Indigenous Politicians.
- What do you see/hope to achieve in your future?
In my future, I hope to see this large health, education and employment gap narrowed down. I wish to pursue further studies by doing a Masters in Research with a strong focus in Indigenous Health, specifically Aboriginal women’s health. The topic I have not yet chosen.
- Are you looking forward to the AIDA Conference 2018 in Perth? If so, why?
I am definitely looking forward to the 2018 Perth Conference, as every year the AIDA conferences just keep getting better and better. I am looking forward to hopefully attending my first AIDA conference this year and seeing all the deadly Indigenous doctors.