Will you be joining us at the 2024 Remote Nursing & Midwifery Conference?
23-25 October 2024, Naarm/Melbourne. We are now accepting abstract submissions. Click here to learn more or to register and access the early-bird discount.

2023 Gayle Woodford Memorial Scholarship recipient, Tiffany Cattermole

12 Dec 2023

Tiffany feels fortunate to have been awarded the 2023 Gayle Woodford Memorial Scholarship and says it will give her the upper hand in expanding her career in remote health.

I’m just that excit­ed,” beams RN RM Tiffany Cat­ter­mole, thrilled by the oppor­tu­ni­ty she has received to expand her skills to sup­port remote com­mu­ni­ties and improve Abo­rig­i­nal health. 

I have 50 mil­lion ideas run­ning through my head as to where I need to be, but I’m like, 

You need to calm down, you haven’t even start­ed the course yet’.” 

After some time spent in Kather­ine in the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry, proud Barkind­ji woman Tiffany has returned to work in her place of birth, Wilcan­nia, a small out­back town nes­tled on the banks of the Dar­ling Riv­er in the far west of New South Wales. 

Near­by in Bro­ken Hill, she start­ed her career in health in 2009 as an admin­is­tra­tive assis­tant for Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ty-con­trolled organ­i­sa­tion Maari Ma Health, where 15 years on, she now works as an out­reach mid­wife ser­vic­ing com­mu­ni­ties of Bro­ken Hill and Wilcannia.

Posi­tions came up for an Abo­rig­i­nal Health Prac­ti­tion­er trainee­ship, I applied for that and spent 18 months in the course learn­ing clin­i­cal skills,” she says.

Ini­tial­ly, her sights had been set on direct entry mid­wifery but her path­way took a turn as she devel­oped an unex­pect­ed inter­est in wound care and found that she loved the nurs­ing side of things much more than I expected.”

After com­plet­ing her nurs­ing and then mid­wifery qual­i­fi­ca­tions, she went on to work as a Mid­wifery Group Prac­tice (MGP) mid­wife in a main­stream health set­ting but has since been drawn back to a holis­tic, com­pre­hen­sive com­mu­ni­ty-con­trolled role with an empha­sis on cul­tur­al safety.

What dri­ves me is being in Abo­rig­i­nal health,” explains Tiffany. The fact that we get to real­ly know the women and the fam­i­lies we care for, and essen­tial­ly spend near­ly 12 months with these fam­i­lies – that’s what I absolute­ly love – the con­ti­nu­ity of care.”

Pho­to cred­it: ken­tau­ros / stock​.adobe​.com

Tiffany loves every­thing about her cur­rent work, which is fur­ther sweet­ened by many baby cud­dles” and explains that she is in no rush to leave, though she does admit to hav­ing some big dreams brewing

I would like to be able to build on what I learn in the next 12 months, and then when my kids are just a lit­tle bit old­er and moved out of home, I’d like to go remote and work out in those very, very hard to access areas – that’s where I want to be. Though, I don’t know how my part­ner feels about it yet,” she laughs

Tiffany is inspired by the expe­ri­ences of her com­mu­ni­ty and fam­i­ly as they face chal­lenges nav­i­gat­ing chron­ic ill­ness­es and access­ing appro­pri­ate healthcare.

You sort of grow up with that whole men­tal­i­ty of Why do we have to go have these checks? There’s noth­ing wrong with us’.

I think that’s the biggest thing that drove me, that is: Actu­al­ly no, you can get the edu­ca­tion you need to stop you from going into hos­pi­tal, or from hav­ing these con­di­tions, or pre­vent them from hap­pen­ing so ear­ly in life’.

There’s a big stig­ma when you go to the doc­tor – [the idea that] you’re going to get noth­ing but bad news. I want to be that per­son who helps to pro­vide that edu­ca­tion, and say that going to a doc­tor isn’t such a scary thing.”

Tiffany is con­fi­dent that this schol­ar­ship will enable her to pro­vide more edu­ca­tion to fam­i­lies and par­tic­u­lar­ly moth­ers about the pre­ven­tion of chron­ic ill­ness in remote areas.

[This schol­ar­ship] means that I can go for­ward and achieve what I want to. This is going to def­i­nite­ly give me the upper hand, I’m quite excited!”

Tiffany would like to thank Flinders Uni­ver­si­ty, CRANAplus and all those involved in mak­ing this schol­ar­ship possible.