Interns and graduates check the temperature at West Moreton Health

Cindy Tyson with her sons Elijah and Emmett
Cindy Tyson with her sons, Elijah, 11 and Emmett, 5 at her graduation in 2021

Two First Nations women are among 87 nursing and midwifery graduates beginning their placements at West Moreton Health hospitals this month, thanks to a program designed to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the region.

Gemma Morthen will commence as a registered nurse at Ipswich Hospital and Cindy Tyson will begin working as a midwife under the Jaghu Program, which is a West Moreton Health initiative to help close the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families and will contribute to the First Nations health equity agenda.

For Ms Tyson, the opportunity to attend a birth in her former role as a disability sector worker reignited her interest in midwifery.

"Helping a client during her pregnancy and birthing journey, was a breathtaking experience," she said.

“That night, I went home, enrolled in the degree, and began my studies shortly afterwards when my youngest child was only four weeks old,” said Ms Tyson, who holds 3 other university degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Human Movement Studies), Bachelor of Education and Master of Business Administration.

“I’m looking forward to building relationships with Jaghu program patients, and helping to close the gap by playing my part in reducing the number of low-birth-weight babies, premature births and increasing the number of positive birth experiences.”

The nursing and midwifery graduates will join 33 junior medical interns who are starting their rounds at Ipswich Hospital.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette d’Ath welcomed the graduates and interns to their careers in health.

“There are few jobs that offer the personal rewards and satisfaction of a career in health,” Ms d’Ath said.

“I’m thrilled that 2 nursing and midwifery graduates will be working under the Jaghu program to improve the health outcomes of First Nations women, children and families.

“The process of closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples begins at conception and continues throughout the first years of life.

“Good maternal health, cessation of smoking during pregnancy and positive birthing experiences are integral to maternal bonds and a healthy child who reaches all of their developmental milestones.”

Local State Members – Jen Howard for the seat of Ipswich, Jim Madden for Ipswich West, Lance McCallum for Bundamba, and Charis Mullen for Jordan – congratulated the interns and graduates on their appointments. 

“I commend the doctors, nurses and midwives who are starting their careers during the peak of a pandemic,” she said. “What you learn in the months ahead, you will benefit from for the rest of your careers.”

A career at West Moreton Health is highly sought after due to the breadth of experience gained on rotation at the region’s five public hospitals that include Ipswich and four rural hospitals at Boonah, Esk, Gatton, and Laidley. More than 335 graduate nurses and midwives applied for the 87 positions on offer.

The retention rate for medical interns is also high, with most junior doctors choosing to remain working at West Moreton Health after their internship ended.

West Moreton Health Chief Medical Officer, Associate Professor Dr Deepak Doshi said the interns had worked hard to earn their places on rotation and he wished them well.

“These young doctors are about to embark on a massive year at West Moreton Health,” Dr Doshi said.

The new interns will commence their first rotations through hospital departments, including general medicine, surgery, emergency medicine and other specialised areas.

They will be provided a supportive training environment, learning from experienced senior doctors, providing hands-on experience, mentoring and support programs to better equip them for their futures,” he said.

West Moreton Health Acting Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery Therese Hayes also congratulated the graduate nurses and midwives of 2022.

“There are few jobs that compare to the thrill of witnessing someone’s first breath or the honour of witnessing their last,” Ms Hayes said.

“These graduates will experience more in the first years of their careers than most of us will experience in a lifetime. I wish them all the best.”