Name: Katie Yeomans
Pursuit: Once I am a qualified nurse, I will go on to study to become a nurse practitioner. I really want to be as skilled and knowledgeable as I can be so I can make a change. My passion is chronic disease among Aboriginal people and seeing the gross life expectancy gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians shortened. I understand that not many people can quite grasp the extent of this gap and the impact it has on our Aboriginal Communities but I believe that when I am a nurse, I will be able to give back so much more to my community and see them live healthier, longer and happier lives.
Hi, my name is Katie and I am an Aboriginal Woman from the Ngarigo Tribe in Victoria. I currently work as an Aboriginal Health Worker, my main role is to increase access to Allied Health Services for my community who have a chronic disease. My work is both challenging and rewarding. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Nursing at Deakin University, I am in my 2nd year of the degree.
When did you start?
I started studying a bachelor of nursing in 2014 after working for 7 years as an Allied Health Assistant and more recently, an Aboriginal Health Worker. Nursing has always been in the back of my mind, it was something I always wanted to do but each year it just didn’t feel like the right time. In the middle of 2013, my sister and I went on a holiday to America, during this time I got some much needed rest and thought about what I was going to do with my life. Although I loved my job, there was only so much I could do and only a few opportunities to progress in the role. During the trip, I made the decision to finally start studying nursing, my sisters response was, ‘Finally’! When we got home I started exploring my options. I really didn’t think I could go straight into university so I started looking at doing my div 2 at TAFE and then going onto div 1. Luckily for me, I had a very supportive manager who told me that I was selling myself short and I would be more than capable to go to university. I took her advice and started phoning Universities in Victoria and exploring their course options. One of the last Universities I phoned was Deakin University. I found them to be the most helpful which helped me decide which uni to study at. I put in my application for 2014, then in September 2013 I got the email to say I had been accepted.
Career highlight or biggest achievement?
Two career highlights would be when I was accepted by Youth Challenge Australia to travel to Vanuatu in 2010 to live and work with the Narango community for 7 weeks with 5 other Indigenous youth. Our main goal was to increase access for those in the community who had a disability and could not be involved in the norm of community life due to their disability. We also started building a disability centre in the community that would be a place of belonging for those with a disability. One of the best experiences of my life. Another career highlight would be the year I was awarded the Wurreker Award for community based employee across Victoria.
What is your dream?
My dream is to become the best nurse that I can be! I want to experience all that life has for me whilst doing something that I love. I want to go on to study to be a nurse practitioner and manage a clinic or ward. My main focus and passion at this stage is chronic disease, especially within the Aboriginal Community. I’m sure my dreams will grow bigger and I will go on to do many amazing and challenging things!
Who or what have inspired you?
Many people inspire me, but definitely the nurses who cared for my sister when she was sick have had a huge influence on me. Nurse have this amazing gift to care for people in their most vulnerable situations, they can bring joy, love and peace to people when they need it. They
Who's your hero?
My sister Lacey is my hero. My sister was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoema when she was 17. In my last year of schooling, after much treatment, I donated my stem cells to my sister to save her life, this was the last resort. She was 20, I was 18. This year she turns 30 and we will be celebrating 10 years cancer free! My sister and I have an unbreakable connection. She is my best friend! What makes her my hero is her outlook on life. In the midst of cancer, she still smiled and joked. She never let it defeat her and so it didn’t. She always has a positive outlook on life. She inspires me to be a better person. As well as working full time at our local TAFE, my sister pursued her dream and started creating her own jewellery line called ‘Hope of all hearts’ in 2012. Now a successful business, we travel doing markets together and sell her product on etsy.
Any other special talents?
I am creative, not so much in making things, but I have a flare for decorating.
I love a Christian artist called Kari Jobe. I’m a sucker for a good power house song from Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey. Ohhhh and I love Christmas Carols!
Jurassic Park! I love dinosaurs! And any movie with zombies in it!
Favourite TV Show?
The Walking Dead
Whatever my mum cooks! But I love hot chips and sauce, dim sims and pasta.
How the grant will help you/how will you use the money?
This grant will take a huge weight off my shoulders. I will use the money to service my car so I can travel the 3 hours to and from university every month. I will also get my laptop fixed so I can effectively use it to do my assignments. This grant will help me in being able to pay for my books upfront. I will also save what I can from the grant to use for my travel, food and accommodation costs associated with studying at university. This grant will defiantly give me peace of mind this year so I can focus all I can on my study and obtaining the high marks I am always aiming for.
Last words: Quote or Motto you live by?
Your dreams aren’t going to come looking for you, you have to go find them, and fight for them.