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Palpable respect and pride

9 Jul 2015

Libby Bowell, Director of Education for CRANAplus, says that the recent Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander (ATSI) health worker course in Cairns “pretty much confirms that my goal for the last few years is right – that ATSI health workers should be facilitating ATSI health worker courses.” Here she explains why.

I have been doing this job for sev­er­al years now.

I believe I have a pret­ty good rela­tion­ship with health work­ers and feel very com­fort­able in ensur­ing my teach­ing meth­ods are appro­pri­ate and flex­i­ble for the audi­ence. But there is no deny­ing the change in the par­tic­i­pants’ con­nec­tion when a fel­low ATSI col­league gets up and presents a lec­ture or skill sta­tion. The ATSI health work­er course in Cairns, which was attached to the CRANAplus Con­fer­ence, was the per­fect plat­form to intro­duce our ATSI facil­i­ta­tors, Rachael Walk­er and Lenny Coop­er. Along­side myself and Sue Orsmond, Rachael and Lenny facil­i­tat­ed the REC course for sev­en Queens­land health work­ers. Rachael is an ATSIHP with eight years’ expe­ri­ence as a para­medic with St Johns Ambu­lance in the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry. Lenny is work­ing towards com­plet­ing his ATSI­HW train­ing and, at the time of this art­cile, was the CRANAplus Abo­rig­i­nal Liai­son Offi­cer, with an exten­sive back­ground in teach­ing pri­or to that. The group was small and inti­mate and no one had heard of CRANAplus pri­or to find­ing the fly­er or being told about the course by their employer.

Right from the start the group were keen to talk about their rea­sons for attend­ing the course… they want­ed more infor­ma­tion and con­fi­dence to assist in man­ag­ing emer­gency pre­sen­ta­tions. Both Sue and I sat in the room to sup­port Rachael and Lenny. Right from the out­set, they were engaged with the group. At the same time, we observed the reac­tions of the par­tic­i­pants: an imme­di­ate notice­able and pal­pa­ble respect and pride shown to the facil­i­ta­tors. Dur­ing a break, I asked one of par­tic­i­pants what was the dif­fer­ence between Sue and myself and then Rachael and Lenny?”… you mob are good but Lenny and Rachael can make us feel more com­fort­able because they are like us,” …anoth­er said it’s not so scary with them here.”

Although a lit­tle ner­vous at the begin­ning, both Sue and I observed the con­fi­dence of Rachael and Lenny grow­ing over the 3 days. Both Lenny and Rachael said the expe­ri­ence was pos­i­tive and it was very evi­dent they enjoyed their first course, had a sense of pride in what they were doing, and are both very keen to be part of the facil­i­ta­tor team. Rachael said that she is keen to assist with the fur­ther devel­op­ment of the course. Anoth­er poten­tial facil­i­ta­tor was iden­ti­fied from the course par­tic­i­pants and she has already expressed inter­est. Both Lenny and Rachael empha­sised that the course pro­vides an appro­pri­ate lev­el of train­ing for ATSI health work­ers and Lenny said the style in which we teach is the right way. Feed­back form course eval­u­a­tions indi­cates that we are pitch­ing this course at the right lev­el and the con­tent is trans­fer­able across bor­ders. All par­tic­i­pants told us that they would rec­om­mend this course for their col­leagues and thought it was a good idea to sched­ule anoth­er course in Cairns next year.

It would be good if this course con­tin­ues. This was a great course; slideshows were very help­ful to see pic­tures. Well done CRANAplus.”

I will def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend the REC course to oth­er AHW’s and also sug­gest our health work­ers all get a chance to attend and also update every cou­ple of years.”

I had a great time, learned a lot and met new friends. Will take a lot away from this course and would high­ly rec­om­mend it to oth­er health work­ers in my workplace.”

I believe this course has giv­en me the con­fi­dence and com­pe­ten­cy to per­form any pro­ce­dures or duties when assist­ing RN’s and doc­tors with­in the emer­gency depart­ment. It has tak­en away most of my fears and has pre­pared me and made me more deter­mined to aim high­er. The use of mnemon­ics is great and keeps you com­pe­tent when man­ag­ing an emer­gency wher­ev­er. Assess­ments were very good as it made me think prop­er­ly and use my com­mon sense.”

CRANAplus is excit­ed and proud to have embarked on this jour­ney with our new facil­i­ta­tors and is com­mit­ted to pro­vide the appro­pri­ate sup­port and train­ing to ensure that we con­tin­ue to grow our num­ber of facil­i­ta­tors. Our com­mit­ment to this goal will see the facil­i­ta­tors being sup­port­ed by our longterm REC facil­i­ta­tors to ensure we con­tin­ue to help build their knowl­edge and their con­fi­dence. We will con­tin­ue to lis­ten to feed­back and explore oth­er oppor­tu­ni­ties for health work­er education.