Identity check box sparks catalyst of change for proud descendant of stolen generation

11 May 2023
The journey to discovering one's identity, passion, and purpose is one of life's greatest undertakings, and for Recheal Daley, it all began with ticking a box.

Ms Daley is on a mission of advocacy and change with a view to see the gap closed for Indigenous health, and through her work as a registered nurse and as a teacher for Indigenous Primary Health at CQUniversity, she is well on her way.

"It all started with ticking that box – identifying if you are of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent," Ms Daley remarked.

"It can be a scary box to tick because it carries so much weight, pain, past injustice and trauma, but that is another story in itself; I want First Nations people to feel that whilst in my care and for the organisation that I work for, that I will protect them from these and knowing that they will receive the best care and knowing they are safe."

The passionate teacher and proud Yaegl/Bundjalung woman leads CQUniversity's Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care & Practice which she said provides invaluable scope for students to go above and beyond in delivering key facets of what is needed at the heart of health care for First Nations people.

"Connectedness to community, trust, becoming role models, showing respect individually and in the community, providing a safe place for community to talk, yarn and discuss issues – these are examples of some of the ways real change is being brought to the health sector.

"Aboriginal Health Workers and Practitioners (AHWs and AHPs) are slowly being recognised for the work they do, and while we still have a long way to go, the students who complete this course become leaders in their community and are equipped to lead the way to positive, holistic health."

Ms Daley commented on how the Certificate IV provides students with the clinical scope of practice to mark a great career in the Indigenous health sector, but can also be an important stepping stone in honing further skills of interest and building on further qualifications to address other community needs.

"There are so many exciting pathways students can take in bridging the health services gap for example in becoming a diabetic nurse educator, specialising in women's and men's health, midwifery and so much more," Ms Daley said.

Through her important work, Ms Daley said she has seen the rewards of patients in her care begin to open up and trust, leading to them becoming autonomous in their own care and being empowered to make healthy changes within their own lives as well as for their families.

"I hope for all First Nations people to be proud to tick that box and know that they will receive equal health care, free from judgement and to feel truly safe," Ms Daley said.

"I'm so driven to continue my work until I can see that we've closed the gap on First Nations social determinants of health, where we are all able to truly live free and healthy lives."