Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Work Practitioner
I want to see indigenous people looking after their health. Just to go in there and get a checkup when they need to and just look after themselves a little bit more.
My name is Jose Nuevo, I’m a Sexual Health Care Worker. I work at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. I’ll do a lot of health promotion in my job. I’ll be screening the youth, talk to them about different STIs - Sexually Transmitted Infections. We’ve got a whole Sexual Health Care Worker system in Brisbane that we all work together. There’s a lot of people that have been in the job a lot longer than I have. I can go ask for other people to help me out if I’m doing a promotion, or if I’m screening, they’ll help me. So we support each other. I did my Certificate III at QATSICHET. It’s an education institution for just indigenous people for health, and I’m doing my Cert. IV now. The Certificate IV gives me a lot more education, learning, not just sexual, mental health, work environments, communication.
Just getting people to actually talk about sexual health is very hard. You have to have an open mind, you know, and you’ve got to be able to adapt to them and not judge them. And try and get them to understand why to screen, and get them to do a screen, and it’s rewarding.
Another good thing in my job is that I get to travel. There’s a great career path in health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Not only the money, but also, they get to help their people in the community out. There’s heaps of opportunities out there.
Being here listening to my patients has given me confidence because they look to me for help, even when I’m not at work. That makes me feel good because I know that I’m doing something right.
My name is Leitisha Jackson, I’m one of the Registered Aboriginal Health Workers at Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service in Katherine.
As a Registered Aboriginal Health Worker, we do basic observations such as weight, height, temperature and blood pressure. We can give out medications, as per their medication chart in their file. We do immunizations, make sure that they are up-to-date, childhood vaccinations and we take bloods if they need to be taken.
Everything is different every day. You just don’t know what you’re going to get. When I go home, I can’t wait to tell everybody what I did today. When I started with my traineeship, I was doing the Cert. III for the Registered Aboriginal Health Workers, and I’ve done my other bit of training, Cert. IV registration. So now I’m a qualified Registered Aboriginal Health Worker.
I had to do a lot of training in my first year. We had to go off on blocks, so we would go away for two weeks, come back maybe for a month, and then go away for two weeks. So it was like that through the year.
On each block, we did all the heath topics. I found it really fun. I couldn’t wait to come back to the clinic here and just do it on real people. For my Mum and Dad to come and tell me that they’re proud of me, and for my community to tell me that too. That’s a big thing. If we get more young people, then you know, we’ve got more role models. And the younger ones, their younger brothers and sisters, cousins and that, they can look up to us and think, “I want to be an Aboriginal health worker too”.
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.
Busy hospitals and health clinics depend on health workers for everything from treating patients to creating community health programs.
This is a rewarding job that allows you to help your community in a very direct way. As an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker you'll provide health care to individuals, families and community groups. You'll talk with patients, clients and visitors in hospitals and community health clinics, and help the clinics with co-ordinating and providing health care. This job is a great pathway into the health sector.
- Treating diseases and/or injuries.
- Maintaining health records and statistics.
- Acting as a communicator and interpreter on behalf of clients and other health workers.
- Taking part in case management and follow-up, independently or with other health care providers.
- Providing health education to individual clients and health staff.
- Providing cultural education to people outside the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
- Providing life skills education to your community.
- Providing counselling and referral for crisis problem cases.
- Providing input on planning, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all health programs in the community.
- Carrying out administrative duties including budgeting and written communications.
- Good communication and negotiating skills
- Organisational ability.
- Cultural awareness and sensitivity.
- Able to work independently and as part of a team.