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A proud Kamilaroi/Warumungu woman is helping people on their journey to recovery after securing a job in the medical rehabilitation unit at St Joseph’s Hospital, with plans to specialise in Aboriginal health.
Jitarna Ellis, 21, studied a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance at TAFE NSW Ultimo and is now helping patients undergoing rehabilitation following illness, injury, or surgery.
Research by BMC shows Indigenous Australians in general are under-represented in the health workforce, and Indigenous health professionals are key to helping Indigenous people overcome barriers to accessing health care.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping others and the practical, hands-on training TAFE NSW provides has helped me to thrive in my role as an assistant nurse at St Joseph’s Hospital,” Jitarna said.
“I would highly encourage anyone to study at TAFE NSW and pursue a career in nursing, especially Aboriginal people. Having that shared understanding and shared values is so important to being able to provide the right care.
“My Aboriginal heritage really drives me in what I do. My plan is to specialise in Aboriginal health, with the end goal of working in a remote community to help disadvantaged locals.”
TAFE NSW Team Leader of Nursing, Kathryn Austin, said Jitarna was making a big difference as an assistant nurse, an area which is facing a current skills shortage.
“The Certificate III in Health Services Assistance equips students with the knowledge they need to provide support and assistance to health professionals and the patients in their care, including skills in medical terminology and infection prevention and control,” Kathryn said.
“TAFE NSW students, like Jitarna, are able to combine personal experience, culture, and practical skills in their role which is crucial in an industry that requires these soft skills.”
Jitarna studied the Certificate III in Health Services Assistance through the Aunty Fay Carroll Program, a partnership between St Vincents Hospital and TAFE NSW which aims to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people begin their career in health, through gaining a TAFE NSW qualification and on-the-job experience at St Vincents Hospital.
For more information about the St Vincent’s Aunty Fay Carroll program, visit https://www.svhs.org.au/employment/aboriginal-torres-strait-islander-employment/aunty-fay-carroll-training-programs.
To find out more about studying nursing at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.
Media contact: Emma Woodward, Communications Specialist