Cadet Renee Making History in the Healthcare System
Proud Gumbaynggirr and Dunghutti woman, Renee Lynwood, is achieving incredible things in her Indigenous Cadetship with Gold Coast Hospital Health services. Her and a team of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander midwives are at the forefront of implementing a midwifery program that is significantly improving positive outcomes for mothers, newborns and their families.
“Thanks to the cadetship opportunity, I am in a placement that I am deeply passionate about and to have an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Midwife caring for Aboriginal and/pr Torres Strait Islander women, is a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of,” said Renee.
“I am a part of the Waijungbah Jarjums Midwifery Group Practice, a model of care that was developed by inspiring and amazing clinical midwife Cassandra Nest, alongside the Gold Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service and the Women’s Newborn and Children’s Services.
This is a birthing on country model of care where we offer care to Aboriginal and/or Torres Islander mothers from a model of care that implements the “First 1000 days” and Birthing on Country model of care. This is from pre-conception to the first 1000 days up to 2 years of age.”
Renee is studying Midwifery at Griffith University at Logan campus and is the first-ever cadet to be placed at Gold Coast Hospital. The Indigenous cadetship program offers paid Cadetship opportunities for Indigenous students across a number of different businesses/industries including law, engineering, architecture, sport, arts, business, health and more. Cadets works in their chosen industry for 12 weeks per year, up to three years while receiving a study allowance.
“I feel honoured to be a part of this model and also a part of the cadetship program. I work with an inspiring team of Indigenous midwives and we offer each other cultural support and share the same passions of Advocating for the welfare of women in community.”
Since the inception of Waijungbah Jarjums in 2020, the program has so far seen promising results. Families who have accessed the service are 19 x more likely to attend antennal visits, 5 x less likely to have a premature birth, 11 x and less likely to have a low-birth-weight baby, a major problem for Indigenous mothers. The model has also helped save 417 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) which amounted to a saving of $1.5 million. *
“The program is growing as more awareness is being raised, we have another student who has just graduated and is now employed as a new grad with Waijungbah Jarjums. It’s amazing to see how this service is impacting so many families, the future looks bright for us.”
For Renee, midwifery and helping the Indigenous community has always been something she has felt strongly about, as her mother is also a midwife, and her father having a social work background. Being from an educated and academic family, it’s empowering to see that education is absolute key.
“I started off my career in community services, went on to do youth work from there. I went travelling then I decided to apply for a scholarship in midwifery and was successful.”
While studying Midwifery, Renee decided taking on a cadetship would be a great opportunity to further her practice.
“With this degree, there are so many requirements for our clinical placement. They include, birthing 30 babies naturally and also 20 instrumental and intervention births over the degree.
So, I thought the cadetship would be a great opportunity because I was paid to do the placement, it would give me further experience and it helped me to meet my Uni requirements.”
Renee studies part-time, has three days of placement with her university, one day of placement with her cadetship and two days with Griffith University. She is also a mother and at the start of her course was caring for her 9-month baby boy, while her partner was stuck overseas in America due to COVID.
“People always ask me, how do I do it? How do I manage to study, to do work placement and to care for my baby as a single mother and honestly, I just do it. I have an incredible amount of support around me from my mother but also the amazing midwives of whom I work alongside each week.
In midwifery, there is so much support around you from tutors while you study, to programs like the cadetship that further my professional practice as a midwife and help me progress in my career. This sort of support really motivates me.”
To top it off, this year in April, Renee was awarded the Griffith University Midwifery Student of the Year award from CATSINaM The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives.
“It was a pretty amazing moment because the award is so well respected. I felt honoured to be presented the award in the presence of some of the most revered and admired midwives and nurses around the country.
I absolutely love what I do, and I am so grateful to be involved in the Waijungbah Jarjums program which is possible thanks to the cadetship program.”
To find out more about the Indigenous Cadetship program click here.
*All stats were provided by the healthbulletin.org.au
DATE: 15th of June 2021
IMAGE: Renee Lyndwood
AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello