First Nations students celebrate completing their health studies

[by Greg Chapman]

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(L-R) CQUniversity Certificiate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torre Strait Islander Primary Health Care graduates Rebecca Woolley, Emily Robertson, (Teacher) Recheal Daley, Hollie French, Renee Browning and Maree Menzies. Image: supplied

The delivery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care has received a boost with five First Nations students crossing the stage at the 2022 CQUniversity Brisbane Graduation Ceremony.

Hollie French, Maree Menzies, Renee Browning, Rebecca Woolley and Emma Robertson were proud to have received their Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care qualifications at the event, which was held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. They were part of a group of nearly 500 graduating students.

Emma, who is the Health Manager at the Karadi Aboriginal Corporation and graduated with a Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Practice, said she was proud in herself to complete the course, despite the impacts of Covid-19.

“It has been a long time coming,” she said.

“I also feel immense pride that I get to share this achievement with my sister, daughter, cousin and friend. 

“We are amazing role models for our younger family members and between us will promote real change in our families across generations.”

Fellow graduate Maree, and Karadi Aboriginal Corporation colleague agreed, saying: “Graduating for me was a huge accomplishment, had you asked me five years ago if this is where I would see myself now, I would have said no.”

“I feel privileged to have been given this opportunity, and to have worked alongside my amazing work colleagues.

“COVID had a huge impact on finishing the course, but with the encouragement of co-workers and CQU staff we pushed ahead, I’m very proud of myself and my co-workers.”

Emma said the knowledge she received from doing the course was of great benefit.

“The course content was great and relevant, but learning was made difficult by the impacts of COVID. Still, our team certainly pulled together to support each other through the difficult times and worked hard on keeping each other motivated,” she said.

“The learnings from the units are now part of my day-to-day work and are embedded into practice.

“We should be proud of that fact and encourage as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take on this role as possible. There is nothing more empowering than our own people making decisions for and caring for each other.”

Maree also encouraged other First Nations people to consider a career in health support.

“I feel I now have a better understanding on how to help clients make their own decisions about their health, I think the more people we have advocating for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities the more they will trust in our system and be willing to make the best decisions for their health and lifestyle,” she said.

“Think about your own health and ask yourself would things be different for you if you had someone in your corner advocating for you?”

“Would you want someone advocating for your family members? Could you be that person to advocate for others?”

Teacher Recheal Daley congratulated the students on their achievements and encouraged others to follow in their footsteps.

“Education is the key to open doors,” she said.

For more information on the Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care visit https://www.cqu.edu.au/courses/certificate-iv-in-aboriginal-andor-torres-strait-islander-primary-health-care-practice

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