Ali Drummond

My name is Ali Drummond, I grew up on Thursday Island and I am a descendant of the Dauareb people of Murray Island and the Wuthathi people of North East Cape York.

I am currently employed as an Indigenous Nurse Advisor in the Nursing and Midwifery Office for Queensland Health. My role is multifaceted but my main goal is to create greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation of midwifery and nursing within Queensland Health. I engage closely with community members, high schools, universities, and TAFE's as well as Queensland Health colleagues forging genuine, strong relationships with each to make this happen. I advise on strategies, policies, midwifery and nursing practices and processes relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people regarding anything from child health, all the way through to palliative care.

I have been exposed to the health industry from a young age - thanks solely to my mother who worked in the industry for a number of years at the Thursday Island General Hospital. In those days, healthy living was never spoken about in black and white terms, it was just about how you looked after yourself and other people.

The promotion of a healthy lifestyle was incorporated in my upbringing through simple things such as growing fruit and vegetables in the backyard and learning when to pick them in season. It wasn't a 'westernised' five groups such as breads and meats and dairy etc. We took this healthy lifestyle for granted because there were no fast food outlets such as McDonalds or KFC.

As I grew older I began to appreciate how to use animals and plants for medicinal uses, our old people would teach us how to eat these foods or how to apply it for traditional remedies. It's amazing what you can use when you know where to look.

As young children we were very active and played traditional games like E-the' (it's like tag but reversed e.g. the group chases one individual). I reflect on these times in my life whenever I look at strategies for the betterment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

My mother and father as well as my grandparents have always been my inspiration growing up. They are constantly teaching me new things. It's easy to lose focus when living in the city but my parents and grandparent's keep me grounded, and I often remind myself of what they endured growing up to create opportunities for me.

In the future I see myself back in my community working as a nurse in a health system that is built on a foundation of both western and traditional knowledge. I believe this is a significant part of best practice for my mob. I am sure that with the amount of effort being channelled into improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and employment outcomes, that one day soon there will be nurses, midwives, doctors, allied health, managers and CEOs living in, working for and looking after their own community.

My greatest achievement, has to be connecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with pathways into nursing and midwifery. Seeing them learn and grow in confidence and graduate with qualifications is a truly inspiring moment for me.

My name is Ali Drummond and this is my deadly story so far.

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