Aboriginal Workforce Role Provides Support at PDH

From Left: Alira Maes & Sonia Shelton
Friday, 20 May 2016
Sonia Shelton describes herself as a jack of all trades at Portland District Health but her latest role is one with special significance.

Over her six years with PDH Ms Shelton has performed many duties from working in environmental services to reception in the emergency department along with various relief roles.

Now she has added Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce officer to her resume.

Her new role involves mentoring Indigenous staff members and trying to encourage other Indigenous people to consider careers in health.

Ms Shelton is undertaking the role one day each week while also continuing to work in emergency department reception.

It's an interesting role that involves supporting staff, helping with training and organising activities, she said.

Upcoming activities include a Koorie careers and aspirations day on May 31 where Indigenous students from local schools will tour the health service and hear from several staff members as they learn about different career opportunities.

Ceremonies are also being planned for NAIDOC Week in July.

Ward clerk for PDH’s maternity services, Allira Maes, said having a Aboriginal workforce officer on staff was helpful.

Ms Maes is studying her Diploma of Nursing at South West TAFE in Portland and ultimately would like to work as a midwife.

Being Indigenous I'd like to work in the health field to give something back to the community, she said. I love babies and have two children of my own so I hope to work in midwifery.

The workforce officer role is also designed to help all staff members at PDH to better understand the needs of Indigenous patients and to help patients feel more comfortable in the hospital setting.

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