Our indigenous achievers
THE UNIVERSITY of Southern Queensland has the highest number of indigenous nursing completions in the nation – and Hervey Bay nurse Hayley McGillivray is one of their success stories.
Ms McGillivray is working at Hervey Bay Hospital after completing her nursing degree at the Fraser Coast campus in late 2008 and she is enthusiastic about both the job she loves and the support she received from the university.
“I had a ball – I loved every minute of it,” she said of her time at the university.
While she faced exam pressure from time to time, the indigenous support unit at the university helped her through and she said she was grateful for the help she received during her time there.
The lecturers at the Fraser Coast campus also played a big part in her success, she said.
“They focus very much on professionalism and having the right attitude.”
She said she had noticed several other indigenous students graduating along with her class – and USQ indigenous health lecturer Lynne Stuart confirmed the high numbers, said that in the coming year, 15 more indigenous students would be graduating from the university.
Ms Stuart said with the health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians widening all the time, it was vital the graduation rate be maintained by the university.
Ms McGillivray believed indigenous doctors and nurses could make a huge difference to indigenous health.
“Absolutely – I very much hope so,” she said.
Ms Stuart said the university attracted a high number of mature age students, such as Ms McGillivray, to the course.
She hoped that in the future the course would also attract a high number of indigenous high school leavers as well.
Ms McGillivray, whose husband is also completing a nursing degree at the university, will return to university soon to complete her degree in midwifery.
She already enjoys working with babies but also spends time on the medical ward and in theatre.