Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


Extending the lessons of NAIDOC throughout the year: 5 East staff share their commitment

13 July 2022

The staff of 5 East are committed to providing culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and changing things up to support reconciliation. This work was underway before NAIDOC Week and will continue throughout the year.

Associate Nurse Unit Manager Anna Hodgetts says the 5 East team is working together to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and is actively seeking to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

“On 5 East we are committed to provide culturally aware health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We are preparing to stand up and show up by creating a ward plan to champion our commitment”,

Shannon Alexander, Clinical Nurse Specialist, said there are two new noticeboards on the ward – one in the patient area and one that is in the staff room.

“We are updating the information on these boards regularly, so that everyone who visits the ward can learn more about the achievements and stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and see that we are committed to learning more about the true history and experience for First Nations people in Australia”, said Shannon.

​​​​​​​“We also use the noticeboards to showcase local dialects, indigenous food/recipes and NAIDOC information on our ward notice board. This is about amplifying the profiles and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and about us as ward staff learning and connecting with this knowledge.

“We have also started a diversity noticeboard in the staff room, with suggestions of things to 'Watch, Buy, Listen to, and Read,” said Shannon.

Anna says one of the most visible things the ward is doing is supporting Aboriginal-owned businesses by bulk ordering scrubs and heart-shaped Aboriginal flag badges, which means 5 East staff are some of the most colourful – and stylish - at Austin Health.

“When we are all wearing our scrubs and badges together, it is clear that we are a ward that is trying to be a strong ally for First Nations people”, she said.

“We want to make sure that people who receive care or visit 5 East can see that we are committed through our behaviour, through strong visual cues and through our procurement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses,” said Anna.

Anna and Shannon say they worked closely with the Ngarra Jarra team to discuss their ideas for these activities and receive guidance on making sure their enthusiasm and activities are culturally appropriate.

For staff working in other wards and different areas of Austin Health, Anna and Shannon encourage staff to think of the ways they can actively contribute to reconciliation and cultural safety.

“Sometimes making small changes can have a big impact”, says Anna.