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From East Timor-based enrolled nurse to qualified Aboriginal Health Practitioner

Joseph Guenzler -

Kelly Lienesch, a proud Malyangapa woman with 32 years of nursing experience, recently qualified as an Aboriginal Health Practitioner.

Hailing from Wanaaring, she now calls the New South Wales town of Bourke home, aiming to inspire others to follow in her footsteps and further assist their communities.

"I am the only one out of all of my cousins to finish year 12 and I was the first in my family to go to university," Ms Lienesch said.

"My parents always encouraged me to chase my dreams and said that education was an important tool which would allow me to help our people and communities.

"This has stayed with me through life and helped my complete my AHP training."

In addition to dedicating the majority of her career to Bourke, Ms Lienesch's journey includes six years of service in the Royal Australian Airforce in East Timor.

As the Aboriginal health worker in the Aboriginal Maternity and Infant Health Service at Bourke Health Service, Ms Lienesch, motivated by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, opted to enhance her skills.

"I want to be a role model for other Aboriginal people and staff across the Local Health District," she said.

"If I can do it, there is no reason they can't do it too.

"It is extremely rewarding being able to give back and provide care to our community."

Recognising the need for a broader perspective, she pursued and completed her Aboriginal Health Practitioner (AHP) training, aiming to deepen her understanding and contribute more effectively to her community.

Aboriginal Health Practitioners collaborate in multidisciplinary healthcare teams, aiming to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Their pivotal role involves fostering relationships between Indigenous patients and other health practitioners.

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