Born in Adelaide, Vanessa is a proud Larrakia, Wulna and Chinese woman, she is also a survivor of Cyclone Tracey in Darwin.
Vanessa started her nursing career in 1993 as a Nurse Assistant in a nursing home while studying a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of South Australia. She worked in the Royal Adelaide Hospital for a couple of years before commencing study for a Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing at Flinders University. Vanessa then worked at Glenside Campus for around 16 years moving between rural and remote acute inpatient unit, psychiatric intensive care and emergency triage and liaison service. Vanessa also spent a year in New Zealand working in an acute mental health unit which also included a rehabilitation and psychiatric intensive care unit.
In 2019, Vanessa completed her Masters of Nurse Practitioner at the University of South Australia and is now working in a community mental health service. She has been in the community for the past four years working towards increasing the profile of the mental health service and assisting community to navigate the systems, understand illness, symptoms and strive for wellness.
Vanessa is passionate about encouraging up-and-coming nurses to complete their nursing degrees and possibly consider mental health. She is a strong believer that with support and mentoring we can better encourage our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses to reach beyond their potential and help them to make a difference in the attitudes and stigma that is often experienced in mainstream services by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander nurses and consumers/patients/clients/community members.