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Indigenous midwifery graduate proud to deliver for her community


Jessica Nelson
13 December 2018

When Southern Cross University midwifery graduate Taneeka Hyatt begins her fulltime graduate position at Tweed Hospital next year, she will be working alongside some of the women who helped deliver her as a baby two decades ago.

The proud Indigenous woman’s dream is to look after pregnant and perinatal women from her country, and help close the gap in Indigenous health outcomes. Her journey to get there is awe-inspiring.

“I was a teenager when my mother asked if I wanted to see my youngest sister being born,” Taneeka, now 22, said.

“Other teenagers might have shied away from the opportunity but I had been wanting to become a nurse for a while and I thought it would be a beautiful thing to see my little sister come into the world.

“As the oldest of three children I always liked to take care of people, but it was watching my sister being born and take her first breath that really pushed me into pursuing midwifery.”

This Friday Taneeka will graduate from Southern Cross University Gold Coast campus with a Bachelor of Midwifery, and will present the graduate address on behalf of her peers.

As a Banora Point local from the Bundjalung nation in Northern NSW, Taneeka said she was always knew she would look after women in her own country. She turned down other offers to take the graduate position at Tweed Hospital.

“Growing up I could see the disparity of healthcare access Indigenous women face, and I want to be part caring for women in my community, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, and help bridge that divide,” she said.

This year Taneeka was awarded the 2018 Student of the Year by the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, an organisation which promotes, supports and advocates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives and to close the gap in healthcare.

Taneeka travelled to Adelaide for the organisation’s recent national conference and said it was an honour to be presented with the award by Southern Cross University midwifery alumnus Marni Tuala.

While completing her degree, Taneeka served as the Indigenous Student Representative representing Indigenous students in her cohort and the School of Health and Human Sciences at Southern Cross University. She also volunteered as an AIME mentor and later worked as a program assistant at Southern Cross University to encourage Indigenous high school students to pursue tertiary education.

During her three-year degree Taneeka has delivered, or ‘caught’, 30 babies, including partnering with 15 pregnant women to offer continuity of care through to childbirth, and has completed placements at Tweed Hospital.

“I am very lucky to know the midwives I am going to be working with through my placements. It’s amazing to think I will be working alongside some of the midwives who looked after my mother when me and my siblings were born.”

Taneeka will be one of 445 Southern Cross University graduands receiving their testamurs at the ceremonies in Building C at the Gold Coast campus, a day after the building is officially opened by Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology and the federal member for McPherson.