Meet real nurses and midwives
Aboriginal Liaison Officer / Enrolled Nurse, Hedland Health Campus
Susan Walker, 2011 Aboriginal Health Award winner
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What do you do?
I am an enrolled nurse currently employed as an Aboriginal Liaison Officer. I am very proud to be an Aboriginal woman. My mother is a Noongar woman whose family come from the Busselton area and my father is a Yamatji man from Northampton. I identify as a Yamatji / Noongar woman who was brought up in Port Hedland.
My role is to help Aboriginal people feel comfortable about coming to hospital and to stay for the appropriate time and treatment. I follow them throughout their patient journey and sometimes assist outside of the hospital setting in partnership with other health agencies and services like the local Aboriginal Medical Service.
What are the benefits of being a nurse?
Being a nurse with experience and knowledge of the human body is an asset to me because I can help my people understand what is happening by explaining certain illnesses, treatment and follow-up to them.
Looking after my people is a passion of mine because of the many obstacles and barriers experienced by Aboriginal people.
Why did you choose nursing as a career?
I was encouraged by my mother who was also a nurse. I’ve always had a great desire to help people in whatever way I could.
What qualifications do you need?
Some of the requirements to be an Aboriginal Liaision Officer include local knowledge about the area and the people, knowledge of the local culture, the ability to communicate well and liaise with government and non government agencies and health services.
I have completed several qualifications in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care and Community Management and Development. I am enrolled to complete a Certificate IV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (Practice).
My nursing and Aboriginal health qualifications help me to share my knowledge, skills and experience. All of these qualifications help me to empower my people, to encourage them to manage their health and to access the appropriate health services for a better, happier and healthier life.
What do you love about your job?
I love having the ability to encourage and support the ones who are in the most need. I like to help people overcome challenging situations where there are communication, cultural and language barriers. Also, I like being able to encourage and support people through life threatening illnesses.