"My grandmother raised me. From when I first started high school, she was a very sick lady, disabled and in a wheelchair. And in 2008, when I lost her, I didn’t want to lose any other family members, so it kind of inspired me to get into this line of work so I could help my people break the chain, and make the next step.
My name’s Ryan McDonald, I’m the Social Health Worker at the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service. My job is basically looking for emergency relief funding, and I also run the men’s health group. We make sure men are up-to-date with their health checks, checking for prostate cancer and all round health and wellbeing.
You’ve got to be a team player to be in this type of job because, especially in my organisation, we don’t just work amongst ourselves. We work with all the different units to get the best possible outcome for our clients. I’ve currently signed up to do my Cert. IV in Mental Health. I also want to go back to Uni and become a doctor. Well, for me, because me and my cousins running around, we didn’t really worry about doing the OP and stuff at school. So for me to get into Uni, I’d have to do a bridging course and then, after that, six years down the track, hopefully I’ll be working for an Indigenous organisation helping my people.
I’ve spoken to my work and they’re quite happy to help me with my studies and then put me on as an internship. I’ll be working and studying part-time. I think getting into health is one of the best opportunities you could possibly take, because there’s so many different areas that you can move into. Seeing my people healthier, live longer is a long term goal that I think the majority of Indigenous people want to see."
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