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$360,000 grant for First Nations Nursing and Midwifery Mentoring program

[by Trease Clarke]


Image: supplied

Charles Sturt University in conjunction with five local health districts and four universities has received a grant of more than $360,000 to extend a pilot program that aims to increase the retention and satisfaction of First Nations nurses and midwives through culturally safe practices.  

The project: ‘DANMM that’s good!”: Evaluating the feasibility and acceptability of the Deadly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Mentoring (DANMM) Program across rural, regional, and metropolitan NSW’ received the funding from NSW Health to be piloted across five local health districts in NSW.

Key collaborators under the program include representatives from the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), Mid North Coast (MNCLHD), Western NSW (WNSWLHD), Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), and Sydney Local Health District (SLHD), along with the NSW Department of Education, the University of NSW, the University of Sydney, The University of Technology Sydney, and the NSW Ministry for Health.

One of the chief academic investigators of the pre-pilot program who was heavily involved in the grant submission process, Senior Lecturer in the Charles Sturt School of Nursing, Paramedicine and Healthcare Sciences Dr Jessica Biles said the pre-pilot program achieved positive outcomes which led to the extra funding.

“Charles Sturt University partnered with Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) to evaluate a mentoring program initiated by this LHD. Angela Damm, Registered Nurse, led the mentoring pre-pilot and was integral to the program’s success,” Dr Biles said.

“The pre-pilot program revealed significant findings and led to the exploration of additional pilot programs across a total of five local health districts.”

The original pilot explored the experiences of participants in a mentoring program designed to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives in a rural health district.

“The DANMM project aims to implement an eight-week online training program across the five local health districts and then invite participants to participate in an ongoing online mentoring program,” Dr Biles said.

“We know that improving cultural capacity leads to a more culturally safe health service for both employees and patients, but we currently have no indicators on what is considered a culturally safe workplace for NSW Aboriginal nurses and midwives.”

Dr Biles said that DANMM will provide NSW Health with a footprint on what constitutes a culturally safe workplace while evaluating the feasibility and acceptability of the mentoring program.

“With nurses and midwives comprising 57 per cent of the overall health workforce, this project has the potential to impact the overall cultural capability of the nursing and midwifery workforce in the five LHDs. This in turn will impact patient care and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.”

Dr Biles said the project will be governed by a cultural and leadership governance group that will oversee all aspects.

“The project will respond to workforce retention, workplace satisfaction, and cultural safety for First Nations nurses and midwives. It will determine the feasibility and acceptability of a cultural mentoring program designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives across five diverse local health districts (LHDs).”

Key elements of the project include:

  • A Nursing Workplace Satisfaction Questionnaire which will assess whether a cultural mentoring program moves the level of satisfaction and retention of Aboriginal nurses and midwives.

  • The Ganngaleh nga Yagaleh cultural safety assessment tool which determines what constitutes a culturally safe workplace for Aboriginal nurses and midwives.

  • The Organisational Commitment and Health Professional Program Readiness Assessment Compass (OCHPPRAC) and pre-/post- qualitative interviews with LHD’s key leadership stakeholders to identify what organisational factors influence cultural capability in participating LHDs.


The project team spans five local health districts and four universities: Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s Mr Peter Fernando; Charles Sturt University’s Dr Jessica Biles; Associate Professor Linda Deravin; Associate Professor Judith Anderson; and Dr Shanna Cargill; the NSW Department of Education’s Mr Troy Pietsch; the University of NSW’s Dr Brett Biles; the University of Sydney’s Dr Bradley Christian; the University of Technology’s Professor Faye McMillan; the NSW Ministry of Health’s Associate Professor Grant Sara; South West Sydney Local Health District’s Mr Nathaniel Alexander; and Mid-North Coast Local Health District’s Dr Tara Flemington.

The project footprint will incorporate health services across the traditional lands of the Birpai, Dunghutti, Gumbaynggirr Nganyaywana, Darug, Gadigal, Wangal, Bidjigal, Wiradjuri, Wamba Wamba/Wemba Wemba, Perrepa Perrepa, Yorta Yorta, Nari Nari, Muthi Muth, Wailan, Wongaibon, Wailwan, Ngemba, Barindjl, Gunu, Murruwarri, Ngemba and Kamilaroi Nations.




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