Joondalup hospital celebrates Naidoc Week

Noongar dancers Troy and Tim Kelly with Barry Vieira and Cheryl Martin.
Noongar dancers Troy and Tim Kelly with Barry Vieira and Cheryl Martin.

NAIDOC Week at Joondalup Health Campus kicked off with Noongar dancing, with Aboriginal liaison officers offering cultural walks and a training program to improve cultural understanding.

Staff participated in traditional Noongar dancing in the main hospital foyer on Monday morning, led by dancers Troy and Tim Kelly.

A group of doctors, nurses, allied health and administrative staff took part in an interactive dancing session and took the opportunity to get to know some of the hospital’s Aboriginal liaison officers better.

Hospital administration acknowledged the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation as the traditional custodians of the land and paid respect to Elders past and present.

Naidoc Week runs from July 7 to 13 and celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Joondalup Health Campus Aboriginal liaison officer Justin Martin takes staff on a cultural walk at Yellagonga Regional Park. Picture: Chris Kershaw

Aboriginal culture shared through lunch walks

JOONDALUP hospital staff are taking part in regular lunchtime walks to learn more about Aboriginal culture.

In keeping with the 2019 theme for Naidoc Week ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth – Let’s work together for shared future’, Joondalup Health Campus Aboriginal liaison officer Justin Martin has been holding a series of cultural walks through the trails around Lake Joondalup.

Passionate about his cultural heritage and people, Mr Martin has been sharing his knowledge of the land and educating colleagues during the cultural walks.

Last week, a group of 26 staff went on an hour-long walk through Yellagonga Regional Park during which he taught the group about local plants, their Noongar names, uses and links to tribes.

He also shared some Dreamtime stories, spoke about the six Noongar seasons, and described the impact of colonisation.

Justin Martin during a cultural walk at Yellagonga Regional Park. Picture: Chris Kershaw

Tracey Negus, who chairs the hospital’s Aboriginal Health Committee and is the co-manager of social work, said the interest shown by hospital staff had been phenomenal.

“It’s really positive and pleasing to know that our health workers are so engaged and that they want to understand more about Aboriginal history and culture,” she said.

“It’s very important that we provide culturally appropriate services in the hospital and so activities like this definitely help to upskill our staff and promote better understanding.”

She said the appointment of three Aboriginal liaison officers in February had also been making a huge difference.

“Their role includes visiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to provide cultural support and to assist in making the hospital a culturally safe environment for all.”

“We have very lucky to have Justin Martin, Tammy Symmans and Tina Garlett working with our patients and staff – they add such value and we really respect the knowledge and experience they bring.”

Aboriginal liaison officer Tammy Symmans, student Kayla Dickie and patient Anselm. Picture: Chris Kershaw

Training program boosts Aboriginal employment

A DECADE old relationship between Joondalup Health Campus and Indigenous healthcare training provider Marr Mooditj is helping to maximise Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander employment.

The relationship between the two organisations started 10 years ago and the hospital employs some of the graduates and takes students on placement.

Last week, Kayla Dickie (21) was working at the hospital to fulfil requirements for completing her Certificate IV in primary health, which will give her the equivalent of an assistant in nursing (advanced skill) qualification.

She said that in high school she always thought she wanted to go into nursing, but a passion for netball side-tracked her career goal for several years until a talk with her mother put it back on track.

“Mum said I either should go into mental health work on into primary health – and so that’s what I did and here I am,” she said.

The Marangaroo resident has just completed her three-week placement at the hospital, where she has spent time working with the Aboriginal liaison team, on a medical ward and in the emergency department.

“It’s been really good, I’ve enjoyed the variety of work and have learnt a lot,” she said.

Student Kayla Dickie learning how to take a blood pressure with patient Anselm.

JHC Aboriginal liaison officer Tammy Symmans helped teach Kayla during her first week, providing tips as well as understanding, having herself been in the first group of nurses to graduate from Marr Mooditj 10 years ago.

“I’d completed a Certificate IV – Health Science Foundation and then went on to complete my enrolled nursing qualification,” she said.

“I was a single mother at the time and living up in Geraldton. It was hard work but I kept going and I’m so glad I did.”

After graduating, she worked for another Ramsay Health Care site, Hollywood Private Hospital, for several years before working for Brightwater Aged Care and recently joining JHC.

Month-long program for Naidoc activities

Noongar culture celebrated in Naidoc Week