Grandmother inspires award winner to follow a career in nursing


A mother of three young children with a strong commitment to the Mount Isa Aboriginal community, Lauren Ah-One, has received the Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health award at the James Cook University Annual Indigenous Student Awards.

Born and raised in Mount Isa, Lauren, who is studying externally to become a nurse, said she had been inspired by her upbringing and close relationship with her grandmother Pearl Connelly, an elder of Cloncurry’s  Mitakoodi tribe.

“Nanna worked tirelessly throughout my childhood and adulthood helping people from the region with her bush medicines,” she said.

“She has authored a book on bush medicines that originate from her traditional lands, and she helps to heal people when requested.

“After assessing and thinking through my life’s journey and what I wanted to attain in life, I thought medicine might be my calling.

“So I decided to apply my energies into a nursing degree to help my community and communities from around north west region.

“Our people once used traditional practices to heal and today, we have science and the best technologies along with medicines known to mankind.

“To practice nursing, I fully believe that you must have a caring nature and above all, empathy for your fellow man.

“Empathy helps break down a lot of the social stereotyping involved in day-to-day interactions and should be at the forefront of nurse/client interactions to achieve better health outcomes for people and communities as a whole.”

Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health Director, Associate Professor Catrina Felton-Busch, presented Lauren with  the award in Townsville this week.

She said Lauren had showed continued commitment to her studies and had been resilient in navigating her family, work and community commitments.

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