Roianne West

“My Grandmother used to say that we are our ancestors dreaming.”

The current health of Indigenous Australians has commanded the attention of government and led to initiatives in Indigenous nurse retention. However, there is minimal information pertaining to how Indigenous nurses support and protect themselves from the clash of two cultures – Nursing and Aboriginality.

The following paper will describe exemplary’s that stand out in my mind because they have significantly changed the way I thought, felt and behaved as a Kalkadoon woman and as a nurse.

Through the use of a reflective practice framework an analysis of the emotions conjured through these experiences and the actions which derived from them will be presented. Conscious awareness raising from the individual experiences will be identified and presented as a dreaming for the future.

The concluding discussion of this paper will highlight the importance of reflective practice being an underlying principle in the retention of Indigenous nurses.

Biography – Roianne West

Roianne West is a Kalkadoon woman born and raised on her country in North West of Queensland. She is a proud Aboriginal woman who has been nursing since 2000. Roianne has a twin sister and a brother who are also Registered Nurses, all of whom studied together, and graduated together from Deakin University, Mount Isa Nursing Education project. Roianne is a sole parent of three children, including having a set of twins herself.

Roianne is currently employed as an Academic with the School of Nursing Midwifery and Nutrition at James Cook University, Townsville. Her experience within the health system is extensive including local, state and national level within clinical, policy and academic environments.

Roianne is actively involved in the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and is a member of the 2007 Scientific Committee for the International conference in October, 2007. Roianne was the first Indigenous recipient of the Stan Alchin Award for Mental Health excellence at the Australian and New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses International conference in 2003.

Roianne is in her final semester to complete a Masters of Mental Health Nursing and is co-writing a Book Chapter for an Australian and New Zealand Nursing text on Indigenous Mental Health.

Roianne is also the Head Strapper/Medic for the local Indigenous senior Rugby League Team Bindal Sharks United.

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