Four new Aboriginal nursing and midwifery cadets in the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) have completed their training and taken up positions across the region.
The program's benefits include 12 weeks employment in a clinical setting, as well as knowledge gained as undergraduate nursing students and job readiness. They also receive support from staff in the district, including an Indigenous mentor.
Four graduates will take up positions in Bathurst, Mudgee, Cobar and Dubbo this year whilst a further five cadets are expected to complete their studies in the next two years. WSNWLHD is also in the process of recruiting a further four cadets to start later this year.
WNSWLHD Executive Director Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing, Tony Martin said the program aligns with the District's Reconciliation Action Plan which is committed to facilitating pathways for First Nations people into the workforce.
"Providing career opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the field of nursing can make a significant positive impact on the health of our Aboriginal communities," Mr Martin said.
WNSWLHD's Jackie Corliss said the program aimed to improve the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses across the state, as well as improving health services for Indigenous communities.
"We currently have nine Aboriginal cadets across our District and four cadets are graduating from the program," Ms Corliss said.
"The program is designed to financially assist Aboriginal Nursing Cadets during their study, while also providing academic assistance and supporting their transition into the workplace."
NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty, David Harris said opportunities like the cadetship program were an important step in closing the gap, arguing it showed the NSW government was committed to doing so in health outcomes.
"We know for health outcomes to improve, Aboriginal people need Aboriginal nurses working in hospitals, community and senior management positions and this group of graduates will play a vital role in caring for our communities," Mr Harris said.
Applications for the NSW Health Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Cadetship Program - Nursing and midwifery scholarships can be made on the NSW Health website.