1. Dr Odette Best, Senior Lecturer, Oodgeroo Unit, Queensland University of Technology

    There is a dearth of literature looking at the experiences of Aboriginal women who have undertaken formalised and recognised nursing qualifications at hospitals throughout Queensland; there is even less on the native nurses schemes administered on reserves and missions during the 20th century. Drawing on primary archival material and newpaper accounts of the time, this seminar explores a rich and new area of nursing history that is yet to be fully researched and documented.

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  2. Associate Professor Gracelyn Smallwood, James Cook University

    In this seminar, based on her PhD thesis, Associate Professor Smallwood will present a defence of what is popularly known as the ‘human rights agenda’ in Indigenous affairs, through the prism of the ‘non-wellbeing’ of Indigenous Australians and her family’s personal narrative. She will engage with the dominant intellectual commentary of figures such as Noel Pearson, Peter Sutton, Gary Johns and Keith Windschuttle, whom she argues ‘have colonised what passes for common sense in mainstream Australia’.

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  3. Carmen Parter, Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council

    Carmen Parter has been a registered nurse, registered midwife and a women’s health nurse practitioner. She has also held a number of policy roles in government, including in the areas of Aboriginal health, Aboriginal law and justice and Aboriginal child protection. In these various roles she has been a clinician, researcher, educator, policy/planning officer and both middle and senior manager.

    In this seminar Carmen will share her personal story and talk about her career in nursing and midwifery and beyond. Importantly, she will discuss how her personal story and her nursing qualifications and experience formed a foundation for going beyond nursing and her dreams to influencing state and national Aboriginal health policy.

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  4. Leona McGrath, Project Officer, NSW Health

    The NSW Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Strategy was developed as a result of a NSW Government commitment in 2001 to increase the number of Aboriginal nurses and midwives in rural and remote New South Wales and improve career development opportunities for Aboriginal employees working in the public health system.

    The strategy includes an Aboriginal nursing and midwifery cadetship program and scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate study. Its aim is also to provide better health services to Aboriginal people by working with the current nursing and midwifery workforce to deliver services that are culturally safe and competent. To date, 33 registered nurses, eight midwives and two enrolled nurses have graduated from the program, and it has inspired further initiatives, including cadetships for assistants in nursing to undertake the diploma of nursing.

    In this seminar Leona will discuss both the strategy and her own story of becoming a midwife.

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  5. Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver and Elizabeth Layland

    Whatever the destination, a journey should be seen as many steps. Mine started the day I decided to run away from home, and, with some help, enter a hospital based nurses training program. I had no idea then that my journey would take me from there to arts, to counselling, to medical school and on to public health at a large university. What I also did not realise was how my initial training at PTS (preliminary training school) as a pupil nurse would become a cornerstone of my work today.

    This talk will explore the role of hope, opportunity, equity and optimism in addressing inequity in today’s systems of health and education. It will provide some examples of the crucial moments and decisions in my own career and offer some thoughts on the question ‘Where to next?’

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2013 AIATSIS Seminar Series 1


The contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives to Australia’s healthcare system.

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