Yarning with a nurse trailblazer
Wonnarua woman Lesley Salem speaks to us about her experiences being the first Aboriginal Nurse Practitioner. She shares her passion for nursing, her experiences of racism and her dedication to education and mentoring others, especially student nurses.
“I went home and my image is of me at three in the morning in a cold shed, sitting by myself... I said, ‘This is the most exciting profession on the planet of the Earth.'"
Listen to Episode 41: Yarning with Lesley Salem, the first Aboriginal Nurse Practitioner
Talking Cultural Safety with the new CATSINaM CEO
Dr Ali Drummond was the acting CEO of Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) when we recorded this podcast but has recently been appointed CEO. Congratulations!
Dr Drummond is a Meriam and Erubam man of Zenadh Kes (Torres Straits) and Wuthathi man from Far North Queensland. He shares his background in nursing, his move towards academia and specifically why that is an important place to embed Cultural Safety and Cultural Humility. In the podcast, Dr Drummond references Dr Chelsea Watego and her book Another Day in the Colony, an insightful and powerful challenge to racism in Australia.
He explains that nurses have always been changemakers:
“I think there's an assumption that nursing and midwifery are apolitical. Nothing is apolitical, we all live in a social, cultural space, there's politics everywhere. If you're not actively engaging, just being aware of it, and understanding whether you are condoning a certain ideology, or certain approach, or certain direction ... just claiming an apolitical space is a bit of a cop-out. Yeah, I think acknowledge that and understand that our disciplines aren't apolitical, we've never been. We've always pushed for what's best for our patients, for the community. But what's best for our patients and community can be quite complicated. So we have to go to the next step then, and understand the complexity. Cultural safety really helps us understand.”
Listen to Episode 42: Cultural Safety with Dr Ali Drummond
The Baggarrook Caseload program making a difference
Aboriginal Liaison Officer Aunty Gina Bundle, a Djiringanj, Walbunja woman and midwife Alexandrea Burton, a Waradjuri woman, talk to us about their careers in health and the Baggarrook Caseload program at The Royal Women’s Hospital. They are Closing the Gap, providing culturally safe midwifery practice and care. They also demonstrate the importance of care for your colleagues translating to the ability to improve care for clients. Each member of the team is helped to have a manageable workload, be in a culturally safe environment and enabled to have time for the other roles in their life.
Aunty Gina explains,
“Midwives historically were Aboriginal Aunties. Due to colonisation, those practices were put a stop to. So what we've tried to do over the years is recreate those old practices in a contemporary setting. Hence now we have Aboriginal nurses and midwives in this hospital, but in the context of a caseload team, which is a five-star one, these girls offer five-star treatment.”
Aunty Gina has recently been awarded a well-deserved Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of her service to Victoria’s Indigenous community. Thank you for your tireless work!
Listen to Episode 43: Baggarrook midwifery with Aunty Gina Bundle and Alexandrea Burton
Pursuing Cultural Safety through education
Tessa Moriarty shares her story of realising that her own experiences as a Māori woman raised in New Zealand did not exempt her from the need for Cultural Safety training in Australia. Tessa explores her challenging but crucial education in the CATSINaM program Murra Mullangari: Introduction to Cultural Safety and Cultural Humility:
“The training program requires a deep level of personal awareness, insight and growth. There was no hiding from our own lack of understanding, ignorance and bias. But the real outcome for me, is a personal acknowledgement that I need to keep learning — from a position that is much humbler and willing to admit what I don’t know.”
Thanks to Tessa for sharing her story, and for all her help in coordinating this newsletter!
Read Lessons I Needed in Cultural Safety and Humility