Ever since Karita McCarthy began her health services career in 1998, she has been passionate about closing the gap for Indigenous Australians in the sector.
“I always wanted to be a nurse but never thought I could actually do it,” she says.
I saw a window of opportunity with NTG Cadetship program, so I applied and was accepted.
Nursing is an area that always had my heart, and working in a Primary Health Care area as a RAN (Remote Area Nurse) was always something that I wanted to become.
Karita was introduced to CATSINaM by CDU during one of her 2017 study units. Four years later, she has secured a role as NT Director of the organisation.
I have always advocated for CATSINaM, and recommended that students become members so that they can be connected with other Indigenous nurses and midwives early in their careers.
There is a real shortage of Indigenous nurses and midwives in Australia, this gap needs to be filled for us to be able to close the gap on Indigenous health care issues.
Being a part of an Indigenous workforce is very important to me, to be able to build these workforce’s we need more Indigenous people enrolling into university and getting degrees.
Karita believes it’s important for Indigenous Australians to remember that they’re Aboriginal first and nurses second.
I grew from my pain, the pain of my parents, grandparents, their parents, and my ancestors.
We need to walk with the world as it moves forward, we can’t continue to look backwards.
Getting degrees means that we can heal from our pain, educate our children and grandchildren, and show other people that we will never forget, but we will be able to get into positions that enable us to be part of a workforce.
Karita says her primary motivation is the low numbers of Indigenous Remote Area Nurses in Australia.
I am very thankful for my journey, it was lonely at times, and the reality of the issues that Indigenous people face with chronic illnesses can be very overwhelming at times.
My biggest tip is make sure you self-care, connect to country regularly, go to the beach to ground yourself, eat well, exercise, and take time out for the things you love.
Studying and working in health is very stressful but to know that you are not alone, and an organisation like CATSINaM can link you up with other students, nurses and midwives that can mentor you while you are on your journey.