First Nations Features: Ruby Tribe

Name: Ruby Tribe

Your Mob: Kamilaroi mob

Occupation/Role: Registered Nurse

Tell us about yourself?

I’m a 24-year-old born and raised Melbournian. I’m a registered nurse and I work in Aboriginal Health and with people who use substances. I love working with the community and seeing long term change with people and their health. When I’m not working, I really enjoy seeing my friends and getting outdoors.

Why did you go into the health profession?

Both of my grandparents died in hospital and the nurses all took such good care of them, they made such an impression on me that I wanted to do that for other people.

Did anyone inspire you? Do you have any role models?

Both of my parents are huge role models for me. Neither of them went to university, so graduating from university was a huge achievement for our whole family. They supported me throughout my entire education and always encouraged me to help others with whatever career I chose.

What do you believe are the major health issues facing Indigenous Australians currently?

Most chronic health issues that were brought in by colonisation are still being faced today. So many of our people suffer from diabetes, heart failure, malnutrition and so many other avoidable health conditions. We need better communication between mob and non-indigenous health systems that fosters understanding and support rather than distrust. Once we achieve this then we will be able to move closer to bridging the gap.

What do you believe are some of the biggest barriers to closing the gap?

A lack of cultural safety and sensitivity in the health system is a huge barrier to closing the gap. People don’t trust the healthcare system and many people never want to engage with a health professional at all. There is so much distrust there from years of colonial abuse that we need doctors and health professionals to become culturally safe now before more damage is done to our communities.

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring health professionals?

My advice to anyone wanting to study health is to stay strong in the face of adversity and never forget the reasons behind WHY you are studying. Find good role models and people to lean on when you need it.