Lee began her journey with Nganampa Health Council 26 years ago when she first joined as a Dental Assistant. It wasn’t long before she moved into a Health Worker role where she enjoyed 13 years working alongside a team who shared her passion for Indigenous health.
After nine years away from Nganampa Health living and working in Ceduna as an antenatal health worker, Lee made the decision to return in 2013, having seen one of our jobs advertised on Facebook! Since then, she has continued her vital work as a health worker and is continuing to grow through further education.
“There is so much that I’ve gained and learned. I’m now close to finishing my Bachelor of Nursing through Deakin University, which will add to the qualifications in primary health care I already have.”
For Lee, it was the unique combination of the environment, role, team and learning that brought her back to Nganampa Health. The chance to work in a role that allows for diversity on a daily basis is something she loves most about her job - and is what helped her in other roles.
“My role covers almost everything. That’s what I really enjoy! From adult and child health checks to working in one of the many programs we run. There is a lot to experience here at Nganampa Health.”
“In the antenatal clinic I worked in during my time away from Nganampa Health, the health workers took a lead role and ran programs. The experience and knowledge I’d gained at Nganampa Health definitely prepared me for this. The skills you gain working remotely, you can take anywhere.”
Lee currently works within the Smoking Cessation Program which sees her support local Anangu people in the community to quit smoking and live healthier lives. It’s a program which she strongly believes in and one that brings her so much reward. Lee is always proud to see people achieve goals and to improve their - and their family’s - health and wellbeing.
“Success is many things, but in my role it’s people coming in and quitting smoking. The team provides patients with so much information around good habits and how they impact their family. We also follow up every six weeks with people who have managed to quit to ensure they have continued support. Seeing people become healthy is a good feeling, absolutely. It’s a very rewarding position to be in. I really enjoy achieving positive outcomes with a great team.”
Beyond the dedicated team of health workers, nurses, doctors and specialists with whom she works, Lee loves the environment and the lifestyle on the APY Lands. She’s also the Coach of the Wintjalangu Softball team, who have won the last four Far North West Sports League Grand Finals in a row!
“I find people assume it’s red, flat and dry out here, but it’s not! I love this country and the people. It’s beautiful in this area. You can’t beat the fresh air and no traffic! After moving to Ceduna, I found I was constantly missing the lifestyle I had here and the strong community feel.”
According to Lee, commitment, resilience and motivation to work hard are must-haves for people considering joining the community and team at Nganampa Health. They are non-negotiable traits that are essential in successfully overcoming any challenges faced in the role.
“We do have challenges; any role does. We want to help the entire community but we can’t always do that - not everyone turns up to their appointments. You try hard to get some people to return to the clinic but you can’t achieve this every time. That’s where resilience and motivation are important.”
With Lee’s nursing studies nearing completion, her future is bright. Looking ahead, she’s excited to continue on her journey with the team and achieve vital change for the community.
“I can see myself staying here for years to come because I love that I get to meet and help people in this role. There are higher rates of illnesses and conditions out here, like diabetes, and being able to help close the gap is very motivating. It feels good to be a part of that change and it’s why I want to stay. It is part of what brought me back here.
I’m looking forward to completing my studies and continuing great work, and seeing more people quit smoking and maintain that new life. I’m excited for what’s to come.”