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CRANAcast taster: Episode five with Dallas McKeown

8 Aug 2022

In episode five of CRANAcast, Dallas McKeown, Executive Director First Peoples’ Strategies at CRANAplus and proud Aboriginal woman of the Yuwaalaraay nation, shares her journey from EN to her current role at CRANAplus, along with the importance of a good cup of coffee.

Dal­las: With all due respect, I would say that nurs­ing is quite a mil­i­tant, you know, very struc­tured indus­try to be in. 

We are car­ers but I think some­times we miss the care bit, we actu­al­ly become so entrenched in this is what has to be done’, when it has to be done’, that we miss a bit of that care and look­ing through a dif­fer­ent lens. 

So, when you meet some­body, and they say this is the way it’s done” you can say but have you thought about it in a dif­fer­ent lens?” 

I think that here at CRANAplus, that’s the lens you’re look­ing through, but [I aim to bring anoth­er lens], which is my world views, which differ.

Sure, there are sim­i­lar­i­ties, but there are dif­fer­ences as well. You know, being Abo­rig­i­nal, hav­ing a real com­mu­ni­ty and fam­i­ly focus; it’s a col­lec­tive of peo­ple, not individuals.

I think that’s the dif­fer­ence, the work that we do here, when we look at a pro­gram it’s not black and white, there has to be [some adapt­abil­i­ty] to make sure that it fits everybody.

The impor­tance of cul­tur­al safety 

Dal­las: [One strat­e­gy includes] pro­vid­ing webi­na­rs and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment to the staff here because not every­body has had a lot to do with Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple. If you were brought up in white-main­stream Aus­tralia, and that’s where you’ve nursed, et cetera, you might not have come across Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple or if you have, it’s one or two.

Where­as, in the areas that we work, which is rur­al and remote Aus­tralia, the major­i­ty of our clients are Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple, so under­stand­ing that is real­ly important. 

Some of the work that we do here is around that. We are cur­rent­ly devel­op­ing in-house a cul­tur­al safe­ty induc­tion, so any­one who starts with us under­stands. I’m not talk­ing about cul­tur­al aware­ness where it’s like do this’, don’t go there’, wear this’.

I’m talk­ing about Cul­tur­al Safe­ty: ensur­ing that you self-reflect on [your self] and your atti­tude, which is real­ly con­fronting for peo­ple. And, I don’t think there is any­thing wrong with con­fronting and hav­ing to think about the way you treat people.

Leah-Anne Thomp­son – stock​.adobe​.com

On the horizon 

Dal­las: We [are devel­op­ing one course] that will be focused on Abo­rig­i­nal Health Work­ers and Prac­ti­tion­ers and that is, look­ing at what is best practice.

We [are intro­duc­ing] a new pro­gram called Mirii, and Mirii in my lan­guage the Yuwaalaraay peo­ple means star. So, Mirii is a guid­ing star for Health Work­ers and Health Prac­ti­tion­ers to come and learn dif­fer­ent path­ways around care. That’s the sort of work that I real­ly enjoy, devel­op­ing new resources.

To lis­ten to the full episode, or hear from oth­er guests, head over to CRANAcast.