Issue 5 | November 2015


  1. CEO Welcome

  2. Working at a national level

  3. CATSINaM at Conferences, forums and symposiums

  4. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health Performance Framework 2014 Report 

  5. Changes to the Board

  6. Our Membership

  7. Supporting our nursing and midwifery students 

  8. Bouquets for our sponsors 

  9. CATSINaM Annual Awards

  10. Cultural Safety Training

  11. Upcoming CATSINaM Events

  12. LINMEN

  13. CATSINaM Twittersphere

  14. Diana Ross and Emily Marshall 


CEO Welcome

“The only way is up!” was the theme of our 17th CATSINaM Conference and National Professional Development Forum held in Darwin from 22 - 24 September 2015. Our preparation for and experience of the conference occurred alongside three critical recent developments, both internal and external: finalising our three-year funding contract for 2015-2018, receiving the Interim Evaluation Report of our 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, and witnessing a change of political leadership and Prime Ministership. More than ever, we believe “the only way is up!”

For those of you who could not join us in Darwin, we will share some of the messages and experiences from it in this newsletter. I will start by sharing my opening address, where I reflected on what the conference theme means to me.

Over the past two years, CATSINaM has taken a journey of reflection and change. You can see this in our name, our badging, our five year Strategic Plan and the membership of our Board and staff team. You can see this in the exponential growth in our membership, and our increased involvement at the national level in both the nursing and midwifery profession and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

An external evaluation of our progress with implementing the Strategic Plan has just been completed. It provides rich information for the Board and staff in navigating how to travel over the next three years – what to keep doing, what to strengthen and what to extend upon.
I would like to share a couple of excerpts from the report along with the inspiring words I had the
privilege of hearing recently when Professor Moana Jackson spoke at the National Council of Maori Nurses conference in Auckland. New Zealand. Professor Jackson said we should “embrace change”. It is inevitable. It has been part of our lives for all the generations of our existence as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

CATSINaM wants to see change occur in the culture, practice and workforce of nursing and midwifery. We are a key player in inspiring change, but we need our stakeholders with us to make this happen. 
In the last two years we have built on the achievements of CATSIN since it was first created in 1997, and set a solid foundation for the changes needed in our profession. We must build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce and provide culturally safe care to our people. Professor Jackson reminded us that “we don’t stand alone” in our work. If the only way is up, then “collectivity and interdependence” are vital – both amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives, and with the wider nursing and midwifery profession.Our evaluation report identified that we have given: “Considerable time and attention…to building relationships across different stakeholder groups who play key roles in the nursing and midwifery profession, and the development and support of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce. These relationships will be central to CATSINaM progressing major initiatives.” (p. 2)
We are in this together – achieving the change we need is our shared responsibility. As Professor Moana Jackson reflected, there will be “obstacles in our way” – as nurses and midwives, in particular, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives. He urged us to “look past the obstacle. Look beyond the mountain and imagine the other side”.

So, for CATSINaM, the only way is up. With collaboration, strategy, persistence and hard work, our imaginings can become reality. We know that our families and communities have struggled; so often, our existence as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives has been born from that struggle. But I believe, as Professor Jackson does, that “the struggle is always worth it”.

Although we are a small team, one stakeholder in the evaluation described how CATSINaM “punches above its weight”. Nelson Mandela said “there is no passion to be found in playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”. We are capable of inspiring the changes that are needed - that we can make real through the combined efforts of the nursing and midwifery profession.

As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives, we have the expertise, the passion and the courage to both lead and guide this. Our conference was a living demonstration of this – we had wonderful presenters from all over Australia sharing their experience and wisdom with us over the three days. We hope our time together has left you feeling hopeful, well-resourced and inspired for the ongoing journey, knowing that together, the only way is up.

To all of our Members and Stakeholders, we are delighted that you continue to travel with us on this journey. Please climb the mountain with us so we can all enjoy the vista from the summit, and watch our aspirations and imaginings become our reality on the other side.


How is CATSINaM working for you at a national level?

You may be interested in these examples of our work over the last three months.

Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 

Along with ten other national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health bodies on the ‘National Health Leadership Forum’, CATSINaM has worked with the Department of Health to create the ‘Implementation Plan for the 2013-2023 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan or NATSIHP. You can find out more about and download the NATSIHP:
Although this work was completed by September and a launch was scheduled, it went on hold with the recent government changes that resulted in a new Prime Minister, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and changes to the Cabinet. We are waiting to hear the new dates and hope to share more with you in the December newsletter. 

Engaging Politicians

Awaiting announcement of new Minister for Indigenous Health
As a result of the recent leadership changes in the Australian Government, we are awaiting clarity on who will have or take over the Indigenous health portfolio. The Hon Susan Ley MP remains the Minister for Health and Senator the Hon Fiona Nash is Minister for Rural Health, while the Hon Ken Wyatt MP has been appointed as the Assistant Minister for Health. CATSINaM plans to arrange a meeting with the relevant person as soon as possible.
Submission to the Australian Labour Party

CATSINaM sent a formal submission to the Australian Labour Party (ALP) in September, as part of the lead-in to the next federal election later in 2016. We focused on six high priority needs that will improve the recruitment and retention of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery workforce, and support better outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health more broadly. Each need was linked to relevant sections of what the ALP call ‘Labor priorities’ in their ALP Policy Platform document. In summary these were:
  1. Fund and support the design and coordinated implementation of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing Workforce Strategy.
  2. Better focused support for encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Australians to consider a career in nursing and midwifery.
  3. A consistent approach to providing core funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Registered Training Organisations, as they provide a vital post-secondary education step into a range of health professions, including nursing and midwifery.
  4. Develop and implement specific strategies to enable greater engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with higher education and offer higher levels of support so the gap in completion rates between non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery students is closed.
  5. Fund a ‘Leaders in Nursing and Midwifery Education Network’ (LINMEN).
  6. Create a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing advisory position within the Office of the Chief Nurse and Midwife.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Working Group 

Janine Mohamed was recently appointed as the co-chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Working Group (ATSIHWWG), along with Health Workforce Division First Assistant Secretary, Penny Shakespeare. A major role of ATSIHWWG is to provide an annual report to AHMAC on progress with implementing the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework (2011-2015).

The Framework is mechanism to assist in planning, prioritisation, target setting, monitoring, and reporting of progress in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce capacity building. It has guided the Australian Government, each state or territory government, as well as national and jurisdictional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations for the past four years.
You can find more information on the current Framework and its five key priority areas at:


Meeting with the HON Warren Snowden MP

In the lead-up to our Conference, and as a direct follow-up on our Submission to the ALP, we met with the Hon Warren Snowdon MP who is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Affairs. He welcomed our Submission, and we verbally emphasised the need for a nationally coordinated approach to establishing and implementing a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Plan, which was the first high priority need we included in our Submission.

Warren Snowdon officially opened our 2015 Conference in Darwin. In his Conference speech, he emphasised the “important of understanding the need to build an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce in health” because “a knowledgeable, well-trained and committed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce is fundamental to closing the gap in health outcomes”.
He commented that as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives “you are agents of change…you will make an enormous different to so many people”. He stated that we “must make sure the next generation of [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander] kids are healthy and supported in school systems so they become available to go into the health workforce”.


Review of Enrolled Nurse Accreditation Standards (ENAS)

CATSINaM is being represented by Janine Mohamed on the Expert Advisory Group for the Review of Enrolled Nurse Accreditation Standards (ENAS) being undertaken by ANMAC in order to update the current standards that were endorsed in 2009. The Expert Advisory Group met for the first time in mid-September, with the focus on finalising the First Consultation Paper that has just become available that forms Stage 1 of the review process. Stage 2 will commence in early 2016, with the intention that the updated standards are finalised by mid-2016.

As Members, you can contribute to the review by completing an online survey, attending one of the forums that will be held between December and March 2016, or emailing written responses. Find out more about how to participate review and download the First Consultation Paper at:


Liaison with State / Territory Health Departments 

Our contact and community with State/Territory Health Departments continues.
A stand out feature of the last three months was the invitation from NSW Health to attend and present award at their 2015 Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards. This included the ‘Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Care’, won by Mary-Anne Dieckmann from Tamworth Rural Referral in the Hunter New England Local Health District.

Leona McGrath from the NSW Health Nursing and Midwifery Office also ran a workshop at our 2015 Conference on ‘Psychosocial health during pregnancy, birth and beyond’, together with Donna Hartz and Tan Martin of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, University of Sydney.

CATSINaM at Conferences, Forums and Symposiums 

The CATSINaM office receives regular requests to participate in a range of external events, committees and reference groups; for example, there were 49 separate requests during the 2014-2015 year. Well over 30% are about delivering formal presentations at conferences and forums, which range from national and jurisdictional to organisational events. Here is a sample of forums at which we gave formal presentations during July to September 2015:
  • The New Zealand Maori Nurses Association Conference, Auckland
  • The Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education Network conference, the LIME Connection VI, Townsville
  • The University of Canberra
  • House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Inquiry into Chronic Disease Management and Presentation in Primary Health Care (Public hearing)
  • Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Networking Event

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2014 Report

This biennial report was released by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) on June 9th 2015. It is supported by detailed analyses and supplementary tables prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, using data sources up to and including 2013. It is a report CATSINaM will draw on to inform our work over the next two years, except for health, nursing and midwifery workforce data as the 2014 data was released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in August 2015.

Here is an interesting excerpt from the Report in ‘Section 3.21 Expenditure on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health compared to need’:

There has been an increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health expenditure and this expenditure has increased at a faster rate than for non-Indigenous Australians. In 2010–11, 91% of Indigenous health expenditure was government expenditure (47% state and territory and 45% Australian Government). On a per person basis, average health expenditure for Indigenous Australians in 2010–11 was 1.47 times that for non-Indigenous Australians. However, Indigenous Australians are currently experiencing rates nearly twice that of non-Indigenous Australians on a range of health measures such as mortality rates and prevalence of disease.
Funding levels for Indigenous health care will continue to grow over the next four years. From 2014–15 to 2017–18 the Australian Government will invest $3.1 billion in Indigenous-specific health programmes and activities - an increase of over $500 million compared with 2009–10 to 2012–13. In 2014–15 more than $920 million will be spent on the provision of health programmes specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. (pp. 172-173)

If you are interested to delve into this 246 page report yourself, download it from:

Changes to the Board 

The 2015 AGM resulted in two changes on the Board, with two long-standing Board Members stepping down. We say farewell to Ted Murphy, our NT representative and Vicki Holiday, our NSW representative. Both Ted and Vicki are long-standing CATSINaM Members, and have been committed Board Members for several years. On behalf of the CATSINaM membership, we honour and appreciate their many years of service, including their role in supporting CATSINaM’s substantial growth and development over the last two years.

We welcome Vicki Wade to the CATSINaM Board. Vicki Wade is the new NSW Board Member. We asked Vicki how she would like to be introduced and why she wanted to be a CATSINaM Board Member. This is what she shared with us:

I am a proud Noongar woman. Through my matrilineal line, I have come from a long line of healers. In fact, I have had nursing and midwifery in my blood across three generations.

My Nan was the midwife on the reserve, South of Perth, where many of my family grew up. This was her cultural role; she supported the women and delivered most of the babies on the mission. My mother then became an enrolled nurse, while I started my career in nursing in the late 1970s and became a registered nurse. Our family’s work in health and healing has continued into the fourth generation, as my daughter is a doctor!

I believe that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives can make a difference; having and continuing to build an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery workforce is an important component of closing the gap. From long experience, I also know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are often not used to their potential in the workplace. This also needs to change.

I decided to become more centrally involved in CATSINaM through the Board to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery. Over my career, often through holding national positions in organisations, I have developed a wide network of people with whom we can engage in our work to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives.

For the last eight years, I have been on Boards; most recently on our local Aboriginal Land Council Board. Although I have now stepped down, I wanted to continue being a Board Member of an Aboriginal organisation. I am familiar with the role and responsibilities associated with governance, and want to make sure I can put the training and knowledge I gained through the Land Council to good use. It is a good time to support CATSINaM, as I am now working part-time and can give some time to the governance role. I can’t think of a better Aboriginal organisation to be part of than one that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives.

One of the things I would like to do is to draw on my association with the Tongan nurses. When I presented at their conference a little while ago, I was struck by the similarity among Indigenous nurses across the Pacific, as well as the experiences of Maori and First Nations Canadian nurses and midwives. I believe there are ways for us to get together and share our experiences - as a group of black nurses and midwives we could make a difference on a broader scale. I believe that will strengthen Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives. 

Growing our Membership

It is only three months since the CATSINaM family grew to 543 Members. As of the end of September we have experienced another substantial expansion to 684. In that short period we achieved an increase of 26%!!

We would love you to talk this up and help us to grow the membership further. Remember - if you recommend your nursing and midwifery friends and colleagues to join you go in the running for an iPad that we draw every quarter.

It was wonderful to meet some of our new Members at the Conference – particularly the students. 


Supporting our nursing and midwifery students 

Our 2nd Annual Student Day was held as a lead-in event to the 17th CATSINaM Conference and National Professional Development Forum. It was fantastic to welcome over 45 nursing and midwifery students from all across Australia. The 2015 CATSINaM Student Day was an opportunity to network and share ideas, successes and challenges as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery students.

Students were welcomed by CATSINaM President, Mr Shane Mohor, then CATSINaM CEO, Ms Janine Mohamed provided an overview of CATSINaM, our work and achievements, and highlighted the purpose of the day, which was characterised by the common theme of resilience and self-care. 

Dr Ngiare Brown, a proud Yuin woman and one of the first Aboriginal doctors shared her story of working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, both as a healthcare practitioner and an academic, and how Aboriginal health practitioners are a unique and vital part of the health workforce. Dr Brown spoke of the many opportunities she has had as an Aboriginal woman, citing the greatest gift her father gave her was his culture and identity.

Dr Tanja Hirvonen from the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory echoed the words of Dr Brown, and spoke about the dire need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners to care for themselves, as they do for others. “Health practitioners not caring for themselves can be costly and result in burnout.”

A panel discussion ensued with Dr Brown, Ms Rochelle Pitt and Aunty Gracelyn Smallwood, each sharing personal stories of being resilient when working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Ms Pitt highlighted the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses, emphasising that “we have something different from our colleagues”. Aunty Gracelyn shared stories of working in North Queensland, and the challenges she has faced and overcome. She told our students - “Knocked over 10,000 times, got up 12,000”. This session was highly valued by the student audience.

Facilitated by Marg Cranney, Student Day delegates participated in the Ladder of Inference activity, which identifies personal strengths and weaknesses and how these can be used in challenging situations. They acted this out in group role play activities. A final presentation was delivered by Ms Jessica Leon, Nursing and Midwifery Officer of the National Rural Health Students’ Network (NRHSN). Ms Leon spoke about the NRHSN, its work in promoting rural health, and how they can be involved with the network.
What do our students say about the CATSINaM Conference 
Twitter was another forum for students to share their experiences. After the conference, University of Newcastle nursing student, Mr Joshua Paulson, posted this…



Bouquets for our 2015 Conference Sponsors 

The 2015 Conference would not have been possible without sponsorship. Firstly, in providing ongoing funding to CATSINaM, the Commonwealth Department of Health enables us to hold an annual conference. It also allows us to sponsor a number of students to attend. This year there were nine positions, which were awarded to:
  • Alwyn Graham, Norseman WA
  • Jermaine Charles, Melbourne VIC
  • Agatha Caracciolo, Perth WA
  • Daisy Sach-Jones, Perth WA
  • Valerie Ah-Chee, Perth WA
  • Priscilla Wallace, Parkes NSW
  • Samantha Jarvie, Brisbane QLD
  • Amy Thompson, Kempsey NSW
  • Katherine Turner, Katherine NT.
However, turning the Conference into the complete event we want it to be with high quality speakers, excellent professional development options and high level participation of nursing and midwifery students requires even further support. While we acknowledged all of our sponsors at the Conference Dinner – we wanted to share who they were and what they supported with the whole CATSINaM membership.

Our two major sponsors were Edith Cowan University from Western Australia and NSW Health, represented at the dinner by Bev Ewans and Leona McGrath respectively.

CATSINaM is also thankful for student sponsorships received from the following organisations.  
  • Shari Pilkington, Perth WA and Joshua Paulson, Taree NSW - jointly sponsored by CATSINaM and CRANA Plus
  • Christy Heir, Perth WA - sponsored by HESTA
  • Bernie Abu-Ziad, Brisbane QLD - sponsored by Calvary Wakefield Hospital, Adelaide
  • Tayla West-Chong, Brisbane QLD - sponsored by ANMAC
  • Tyla West-Chong, Brisbane QLD - sponsored by the ANMF
  • Shahnaz Rind, Melbourne VIC - sponsored by PEPA
  • Vernon Armstrong, Brisbane QLD - sponsored by NACCHO
APNA, the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association, sponsored Gracelyn Smallwood, one of our keynote speakers. Other sponsors this year included The Lowitja Institute and the Indigenous Health Infonet.  
A huge thank you to you all - we hope you work with us again at the next conference.


CATSINaM Annual Awards

As always, the highlight of the CATSINaM Conference was the formal dinner at which we announced the CATSINaM Award winners across three categories. Attendees were already in a state of excitement, enjoying the efforts of those who dressed up for our ‘Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’ theme. A sterling effort was put in by the ladies from the ANMF, Eliabeth Foley and Julie Reeves, shown here with our own Anne-Marie Maher, who took out the prize for ‘best dressed’ on the night.

The Sally Goold Award 

This award for individual nursing and/or midwifery excellence recognises the achievements of an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander nurse or midwife who has made substantial contributions to the nursing and midwifery profession and the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians through their work. The 2015 Sally Goold Award recipient was Dr Lynore Geia, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman born and raised on Palm Island off the coast of Northern Queensland, in a forced Aboriginal community under government legislation and now home to Bwgolman People.

Lynore is a registered nurse, having trained at Townsville General Hospital in 1977, and a midwife trained at LewishamHospital in south-east London in the United Kingdom in 1981. Lynore has worked in, a
nd supports, Aboriginal community controlled health, having gained extensive experience in Aboriginal women’s health and birthing. This has led to a passion for working with community to develop community strategies that support and strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families through best practice. Lynore is committed to developing effective research and education in nursing and midwifery that contributes to health praxis; in particular, Closing the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

The Partnership Award

This award is for organisations; it recognises culturally respectful, committed and successful partnerships between our Members and other organisations – whether they are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander or mainstream organisations. The 2015 award went to the Nursing and Midwifery Office in the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which has been instrumental in supporting the training and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives in Victoria, and creating employment opportunities through a range of programs.

These programs include the Victorian Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Cadetship Program, the Aboriginal Graduate Nurse and Midwife Program, and funding for continuing professional development (including several of their program participants to attend the CATSINaM Conference. As a result of these initiatives, 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives have graduated and go on to successful careers over the past five years, with this number expected to grow well into the future due to the roots that these programs have established.

It was accepted by Merrin Bamert, Manager, Nursing and Midwifery Workforce, on behalf of the Office, who was recognised as one of the champions within DHHS along with Sue Davey, Principal Policy Advisor, Aboriginal Workforce Initiatives. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award
Choosing a recipient for this award proved to be profoundly difficult for the Board. Consequently, they decided on giving out three to these amazing women – Diana Ross, Emily Marshall and Gracelyn Smallwood - all from Townsville.

To the delight of the crowd, they treated us to a very stylish journey to the podium - anyone would think they had practiced their dance moves before - followed by wonderful acceptance speeches, more dancing and, later in the evening, even Karaoke!

It was a professional performance that completely over-shadowed our terrific Master of Ceremonies, Luke Carroll. We profiled the life and work of Professor Gracelyn Smallwood in the June 2015 Newsletter. In this newsletter we share some of the story of Diana Ross and Emily Marshall.


CATSINaM's Cultural Safety Training ; Who had taken the journey and what do they do as a result 

Since we began offering Cultural Safety Training to our stakeholders, in particular, non-Indigenous people in leadership and management positions, we have tracked who have taken the journey and, where possible, what they have done as a result. Here is a snapshot of what we have learned. In total, 73 participants from 30 different organisations have attended our training. Several organisations have sent more than one person to the training, either the same workshop or subsequent workshops.

As shown in this graph, there has been good reach into national nursing and midwifery organisations, with some reach into universities. We have also started to reach people working in government policy and planning, in particular in Australian Government.

CATSINaM have identified 16 of the over 50 different nursing and midwifery organisations in Australia as priority organisations with whom they need to have a strong relationship. An interesting statistic is that nine or 56% of these 16 nursing and midwifery organisations that CATSINaM see as their highest priority stakeholders have attended. Nine universities have also attended, but this only represents 24% of the 37 universities delivering nursing and midwifery courses. We encourage all our Members to advocate for universities that you have any involvement with to attend in future.

Our Cultural Safety Training facilitators, Sharon Gollan and Kathleen Stacey, have been analysing the evaluation forms that participants complete at the end of the two days. This process is continuing and we hope to publish a journal paper about this work in the next year with our facilitators, Sharon Gollan and Kathleen Stacey. Their analysis to date was shared as a plenary paper at the Conference - here are a few highlights. One evaluation question asked of participants is how the presentations and exercises are useful to them. They responses fell into four main themes:
  •  Opportunities were provided for personal insight, development and self-reflection.
  • At times they were challenging and confronting, but essential to moving forward and beyond other learning of this kind.
  • They inspired them to learn, cement their newfound knowledge and have the confidence and skills to apply it in their everyday lives
  • They value all of the personal stories and contributions from facilitators and other participants

Upcoming CATSINaM Events 

Cultural Safety Training for stakeholders 
The next available workshop for CATSINaM’s non-Indigenous stakeholders is February 9-10th in Canberra. We will promote this further over the next two months. 

Cultural Safety Training for members 
We are holding a dedicated Cultural Safety workshop for CATSINaM Members so they can experience the same content as our stakeholders, although through a slightly different process. Details are:
December 2nd and 3rd 2015 in Brisbane (1.5 days)
$300 per person (GST exclusive)


An education roundtable on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework

In response to the recent release of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework, CATSINaM is planning to hold a roundtable in December 2015. Invitations with event details will be sent out shortly. The roundtable will bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery academics to develop a resource that will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery education and align with the health curriculum framework.

A copy of the framework can be found at: 

Taking further steps to establish a LINMEN

With the release of a discussion paper in early September on our proposed ‘Leaders in Nursing and Midwifery Education Network’ (LINMEN), we are another step closer to establishing a LINMEN. Submissions have closed, and we look forward to hearing what people have said. We will share a summary with you in the December Newsletter as well as our next step in seeking funds so we can proceed.

We appreciate all and any efforts by our Members and Stakeholders to advocate in their spheres of influence for the establishment of a LINMEN. If we express a strong and consistent position, we enhance the likelihood of succeeding. Please “climb the mountain with us”!

Our 2015 conference in the Twittersphere

Everyone attending the 2015 conference was encouraged to be active on Twitter using the hashtag using #CATSINaM2015 to spread the word about what we talk about and why it is important. Here is a quick summary of our activity in the Twittersphere.

The peak dates of activity ranged from 19-26 September 2015 and the conference ran from 22-24 September. This graph shows the tweet activity during this date range.

Clearly, attendees took to Twitter with enthusiasm. We have learned there were there were 212 individual tweeters using the #CATSINaM2015 hashtag during the peak dates. This is more tweeters than people at the conference, so thank you to people who could not be with us but helped us spread the message. AT one point during the conference our hashtag was the top one trending nationally. So, what types of messages were tweeted? Here is a selection for those of us who are not in the Twittersphere.

RT @vickiwade9: #CATSINaM2015 diagnosing mental health conditions need a cultural lens #JenniferMcClay
RT @RhondaWilsonMHN: @HealthUNE UNE #Aboriginal #nursing students - future is looking bright! #CATSINaM2015
RT @LynoreGeia: Proud to be a Murri Nurse & Midwife, so much you can do for your people - keep going strong @CATSINaM #CATSINaM2015 https:/…
"Unity and strength through caring" says @CATSINaM something in that for everyone in rural health #CATSINaM2015
RT @CATSINaM: "Indigenous health practitioners are vital for culturally appropriate care & have extra responsibility to do so" Tanja&Sarah
RT @The_NRHSN: We need more Indigenous nurses & midwives to achieve better health outcomes for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people #…
RT @MarniTuala: The future of Aboriginal Health is in good hands. #studentday #CATSINAM2015 @CATSINaM
RT @7236jp: Prof. Ngiare Brown advice: "learn the difference between leadership and management" #CATSINAM2015 @CATSINaM
RT @7236jp: Great first day of the @CATSINaM conference 2015. Already so inspired but some great speakers and other students. #CATSINAM2015
"We don't stand alone, we must stand together and the wider nursing workforce join us" - Janine Mohamed talks of our members #CATSINaM2015
"Systems need to change and be responsive to needs" Juanita Sherwood from @nccc_sydney #CATSINaM2015
Great to have @VicGovDHHS present. Nurses and midwives very important in Victorian Aboriginal health #catsinam2015
Today we are talking about building culturally safe workspaces and a resilient workforce - Janine Mohamed @CATSINaM CEO at #CATSINaM2015
RT @LynoreGeia: Good to see pollies at #CATSINaM2015 - need the teeth behind the words to support Aust Indigenous Nurse & Midwifery
RT @LynoreGeia: Seeing our young people still connecting w/ culture makes our hearts sing ! strength & resilience #CATSINaM2015

In total, there were 1825 individual tweets during the peak dates. This was an average of 13 tweets per hour and nine tweets per active participant. In total, 2,736,641 ‘tweet’ impressions were made using #CATSINaM2015. Well done Tweeters!

Stories from Diana Ross and Emily Marshall

The stories of Diana Ross and Emily Marshall, as two of our 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, were recorded in CATSIN’s 2005 book, ‘In our own right: Black Australian Nurses’ stories’ that was edited by Sally Goold. Both Diana and Emily now live in Townsville, but their life journeys started elsewhere - Palm Island for Diana and Moa Island in the Torres Strait, for Emily.

Diana and Emily had to overcome many hurdles, not of their making, to pursue their dream of becoming a nurse. Diana applied for a position as a trainee nurse at the Ingham Hospital (Qld) after multiple attempts to gain a job after completing high school with good grades, only to be persistently rejected once they met her and saw the colour of her skin. She explained that:

“Workplace racism and harassment by non-Indigenous nursing staff was rife, but I persevered because my priority was supporting the family income [for her parents] and that was more important to me. After the initial six months of nursing I found enjoyment, acceptance by patients and staff, and my work became a great love in my life.” (p.117)

Diana was later transferred to the Townsville Hospital – her journey to Townsville led to her meeting her husband and, over time later, having three children. This took her out of nursing for some time. Her career was re-ignited through studying and working in dental nursing before taking further steps to gain her registered nursing qualification at James Cook University, meanwhile working as an Aboriginal Health Worker. She achieved her Degree in Nursing Science in 1996 as a mature age student. Later Diana worked for St John Ambulance and a clinical nurse for the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service; in fact, she still works there today, long after ‘standard’ retirement age.

Emily’s mother was a Torres Strait Islander midwife, and she would take Emily as a young child to the family homes whenever a woman needed her help. She would wait outside while her mother did mysterious things behind the red cloth that was hung over the door. It took until she was fourteen years old that she unexpectedly, and tragically, found out what was really happening due to her sister’s experience, which inspired her desire to become a nurse. It took almost 20 more years, before she had the chance to start studying nursing in New South Wales.

After going back to Queensland to Townsville, due to her husband’s job, Emily had the chance to complete her Bachelor of Nursing Science to become a professional nurse – it had been a long journey but was not over. She was confronted by racism when she began working in the mental health unit at Townsville Hospital, as was forced to undertake psychological assessment to prover her ability to practise nursing, despite having qualified already, and her registration was restricted.

Through the involvement of the CEO and Medical Officer, the Queensland Nursing Council and Sally Goold at CATSIN were contacted. Their combined efforts resulted in Emily being reassessed by Sally so that she could regain her full registration. Emily has risen above this racism and discrimination, which almost robbed her of her dream, to continue practising as a nurse today, also, well beyond retirement age.
If you would like to get a copy of ‘In our own right: Black Australian Nurses’ stories’, you can order it online from the Australian bookshop, Holistic Page:

Unity and Strength through Caring

5 Lancaster Place, Majura ACT 2609

Phone: 02 6262 5761 |

Copyright © CATSINaM 2014

Share on Facebook & Twitter

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
CATSINaM · 5 Lancaster Place · Majura Park · Majura, ACT 2609 · Australia

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp