Rodney Monaghan 2010 NAIDOC Award recipient
Professor Rhonda Marriott with Rodney Monaghan 2010 NAIDOC Award recipient
In 2010 Pilbara based Enrolled Nurse, Rodney Monaghan, was the recipient of the inaugural WA Nursing and Midwifery Office Rhonda Marriott NAIDOC Award. Rodney is a recognised law man, has co-researched in Aboriginal health studies, implemented youth programs which have received accolades by the Shire through numerous community awards and his commitment to Aboriginal health and employment led to his successful promotion to become the Pilbara Aboriginal Health Coordinator. The award nominations will open soon as the award is presented during NAIDOC week (July 3 – July 11). Look for the posters and flyers that will be available at this website, at hospitals and community postings in May 2011.
“When I was around 17 or 18 years old, my older cousin was working as an Aboriginal Health Worker in community health in South Hedland. This was back in the 1980s. I asked him “can I work with you when I get older?” So my cousin got me a job working with the Health Department when I got older, I started as a project officer which was comparable to an Aboriginal Liaison Officer. At that time, I did my training in Aboriginal health work while I was working for WA Country Health Services. I completed my training and after 3 years working in the communities of Port Hedland and South Hedland, I moved into dialysis as a health worker. I had to do a lot of clinical work with dialysis patients. After mastering my clinical skills, I was encouraged to do nursing by my Clinical Nurse Manager. It was frightening because it was a long time since I left school. I made my decision and enrolled the next day to do enrolled nursing at TAFE Port Hedland.
I battled through and worked hard, studying the course and working part time in dialysis. The first three months were the hardest. I nearly gave up at times.
What got me through was that I got so much assistance from the nurses from the hospital and the community. They gave me a lot of tutoring with mathematics and assignments. They explained things to me so that it became simple to understand. Nursing is a different kettle of fish to health work and I completed my enrolled nursing in two years. In a short amount of time I was upgraded to Advanced Skill Enrolled Nurse.
In total, I worked with WA Country Health Services for fourteen years. In 2009 I was offered professional development and I moved into a position as an Aboriginal Health Officer to have an opportunity to develop my leadership and management skills.
In just twelve months I have moved my way up from the Health Officer to Coordinator of Aboriginal Health to my current position of Regional Coordinator of Aboriginal Health. In my role I negotiate and consult with communities across the large expanse of the West Pilbara with the executive body of WACHS. I have also been involved in pivotal projects aimed at improving services to Aboriginal people through co-authoring research, consulting on workforce issues and developing and implementing cultural awareness and consultancy for WA Country Health Service employees.
I am also well respected by the mining companies due to my tribal law and knowledge of my culture and land. I am a member of the Njamal Peoples’ Trust and on the working group that negotiate with the mining companies on land access, issues, and royalties. I rely on my skills of communication and negotiation and knowledge of the Njamal cultural and land rights.
I am a tribal leader and Lore man. I am a well respected leader in my community. I lead by example. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I spend a lot of time with kids and the elderly. I like working with the sick and the elderly. I am highly involved in community sports and youth, with regional basketball and also boxing. I have a background in youth work which has been recognised.
I also run my own business - Indigenous Training Australia (external site) and 90% of my employees are Indigenous. Currently, fourteen local Indigenous people work in my company.
During my time working as a Senior Youth Worker I received two community awards from the Shire of Port Hedland for work leading to community morale, such as reduced crime rate.
After one year working in dialysis, I was awarded with the Centenary Medal for my work with health and community.
I’d like to see more Indigenous Health Workers and nurses working in our region to help our people with their health. We need our people involved in management to have input into decisions about health for our people. Nursing for me was vital as a stepping stone into management. Since I have completed my nursing, I have learned so much. I learnt I can go anywhere in my career. I have a career that I am passionate about. Improving Aboriginal health in my region is my goal.”
Rodney Monaghan, Regional Aboriginal Coordinator, Hedland Health Campus