My name is Jacqueline Watkins and I am the Manager of Aboriginal Health Policy & Planning. I am an Aboriginal woman from Larrakia Nation, Darwin and Jingili on my mother's side. I have three children and one beautiful granddaughter. My hobbies include Ikebana - the Japanese art of flower arrangement – which is something I would like to pursue further in the future and I also love anything to do with horses.
I didn't hesitate to apply for the position of Manager of the Aboriginal Health Unit as I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to make a difference out west for our ever growing Aboriginal population, as well as having firsthand experience as a consumer of Western Health services. I am very excited to be part of an organisation that is committed to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
I started at Western Health in June 2013, with experience working in my own community in the Northern Territory along with other Aboriginal communities across Australia, mainly in the field of education. Health is a relatively new area for me and I find it a very challenging and interesting field.
It's a really good organisation to work for. Western Health has come a long way in the past two years in relation to Aboriginal Health, particularly around the cultural side, so I believe Aboriginal staff feel a lot more welcome within the service. The organisation is very supportive and there are fantastic opportunities available to staff to progress their skills and knowledge through the Western Health Registered Training Organisation (RTO). I would encourage any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to apply for a position at Western Health.
When I first started, we were working on a three year Aboriginal Health Plan at Western Health, with a focus of making the unit visible and making sure Aboriginal Health is at the forefront of the organisation's priorities. That has certainly been achieved. We now have Aboriginal artwork visible at all Western Health sites and I think a vast majority of staff are aware of our services. We have now started a new three year plan with renewed focuses – particularly around making the wider community more aware of the services offered at Western Health.
My name is Caitlin Roberts and I am originally from Tasmania. I moved to Melbourne in 2007 after deciding to study Speech Pathology. In my spare time, I enjoy walking my dog, along with catching up with family and friends.
I have been working at Western Health for three years now. I am currently working as a Grade 2 Speech Pathologist in Sub Acute. I work in Community Rehabilitation, Outpatients and Community Transition Care at Williamstown Hospital. My week is varied, with outpatient appointments at the hospital and home based sessions with patients who have had a stroke or have Parkinson's Disease. I work with my patients on communication therapy and assisting them to eat and drink again. Since joining Western Health, I have worked across all three sites at Sunshine, Footscray and Williamstown and I have worked in acute, subacute and community care.
I have found Western Health to be a very supportive environment for learning and developing my skills. I started here as a Grade 1 Speech Pathologist and I found there were lots of opportunities to shadow other clinicians and learn from them, which was really helpful when I was just starting out. It's not something you find in every health service.
There is always something new to learn and every day presents new challenges. What I have found to be great at Western Health is the diversity of our patients making my work challenging and interesting, and as a clinician, that is what you want. Williamstown Hospital is a great place to work as there is a nice community feel about it and the Allied Health team work well together. I have also found that to be the case at both Footscray and Sunshine. I think it is just the Western Health way!