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Jalen eager to make a change

Published:  25 February 2020
The Townsville Hospital and Health Service’s commitment to Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health outcomes has been bolstered this month with 151 graduate nurses, including Torres Strait Islander Jalen Pearson, kicking off their nursing careers as part of the annual graduate nursing program.

Jalen said it was a keen interest in health that led him to pursue a career in nursing.

“I’ve always been interested in health sciences and I enjoy taking a more hands-on approach to healthcare,” he said.

“I’m especially fascinated by the brain and how it works, so I really wanted to focus my career in either neurology or mental health.”

After scoring a 12-month placement specialising in mental health at the Townsville University Hospital, Jalen said he was excited to help change people’s lives.

“Mental health gives you a unique opportunity to make a real connection with consumers,” he said.

“Mental health consumers can have a more complex journey so unlike in the wards you get to know them individually and build a real rapport with them.”

Jalen said coming from an Indigenous background also made him more passionate about driving healthcare change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Having a large family, I grew up seeing a lot of family members going in and out of hospital, and seeing health issues arise earlier than expected,” he said.

“I definitely had a bit of a drive towards wanting to help improve those health stats when I decided to become a nurse.”

Jalen said he was eager to keep learning on the job.

“Townsville University Hospital actually has a higher number of Aboriginal than Torres Strait Islander patients and consumers so I still find myself navigating that cultural gap,” he said.

“In our post-graduate studies I’m hoping to focus on some courses that look at Indigenous health care, and how we can improve it.”

Jalen said once he found his feet, he was keen to see the health service continue to work on Closing the Gap.

“As my career progresses, I want to find myself in a position to drive change, rather than just implementing it,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to what the next few years have to offer.”

Jalen joins five other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduate nurses and midwives.

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