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I am firstly a Wiradjuri woman. My family ties are in country NSW, however, I have lived and worked in QLD for many years.
Professionally, I am a registered nurse and an endorsed midwife. Proudly, I was the first in my family to complete secondary school. I decided on nursing as it was hospital-based “on the job” paid training. I have worked in many areas including Intensive Care, medical, surgical and oncology, completing my general nursing and then midwifery training in a busy Sydney hospital. Midwifery quickly became my passion (some 20 years). Working in a variety of maternity settings, I am always amazed at the power of women and the strength they bring to their families.
I completed my Bachelor of Nursing science through University of Central Queensland by correspondence, whilst working part-time with a young family.
I am privileged to have helped my friend Denise Watego, a Noonuccal woman from Stradbroke Island, to establish the first Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander antenatal specific clinic, “The Murri Clinic” in a large city hospital, Mater Mothers in Brisbane. Denise has sadly passed but would be proud of the work to increase the Indigenous Midwifery workforce.
During this time, I also worked with Queensland’s Office of Chief Nurse – Indigenous Nurse Adviser on the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Strategy 2010-2012. I participated in making the DVD “Think Nursing” a resource to encourage Indigenous people into nursing and midwifery. This aligned with the strategic focus of the Commonwealth Government’s national priority of “Closing the Gap” on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
I previously worked as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander maternity care co-coordinator/clinical midwife at Caboolture hospital, to help develop and grow the “Ngarrama” Antenatal birthing project, a 24-hour birthing service specifically for Indigenous women. I continue to work clinically at Caboolture Hospital.
I am a co-author of the publication Yatdjuligin: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Care. This text was written by a team of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery academics and practicing nurses and is designed for both non-Indigenous and Indigenous nurses, who will work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. I authored Chapter 7: Midwifery practices and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women: Urban and regional perspectives.
I have a keen desire to increase the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women becoming midwives. Through this passion I have been a member of the ‘Birthing on Country’ projects. Currently I am a co–researcher within the Birthing in our Community: Improving maternal infant health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and infants at Mater Brisbane.
In my Midwifery lecturer role at Australian Catholic University, I continue teaching and am strongly involved in the Bachelor of Midwifery (Indigenous) program as Indigenous Midwifery Lecturer. This program initially planned to meet the needs of a small cohort of Indigenous women from The Northern Territory. The cohort now includes women from rural and remote areas of Queensland and Australia. The Bachelor of Midwifery (Indigenous) is designed to increase access to midwifery education for Indigenous people from remote communities.
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