In Our Own Right: Black Australian Nurses' Stories

Reviews of In Our Own Right

Review by: Cronin, D. (2005) Racism alive, well in health system: author. Canberra Times, Thursday 29 September 2005, p.

Sally Goold hopes a new book will help counter the racism and discrimination that is "alive and well" in Australia's health system.

She has co-edited the book - In Our Own Right: Black Nurses' Stories - which was launched in Canberra last night.

"To me and to the contributors it was very important that we let people know the stories of those nurses who had gone before, because they were the trailblazers, particularly many of those women had been excluded from nursing because of their Aboriginality," she said.

"We thought it was important to tell their stories to the profession because the nursing profession has been pretty tough on anyone who's different."

Dr Goold, a Wiradjuri woman born at Narrandera, NSW, was the first Aboriginal student nurse at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She gained her doctorate of nursing at RMIT.

Dr Goold said she loved being a nurse but it also took strength to overcome problems - such as living away from home, dealing with racism and coping under extreme pressure - without enough professional support.

'We as Aboriginal nurses have to work that bit harder for what we achieve, and yes, you will have to walk the extra mile," she said.

"You cannot be 'as good as'. You have to be better than others to make your mark because being as good is not enough for those who judge you.

"It is not easy. It is certainly not easy to move up the ladder in the mainstream arena because there are forces to keep you down.

"You need to be a strong person and to rise above those issues and the barriers that are placed in front of you."

Dr Goold has gone on to have a long career with significant achievements including an Order of Australia medal for service to nursing education and Aboriginal health.

"Racism and discrimination is alive and well in the health care setting right across the board ... which is really not acceptable," she said.

"And we thought thee stores needed to be told to bring people's attention to the injustices that were served on those trailblazers and role models, and inspirational to those traveling behind."

The book, reportedly the first of its kind, contains the stories of 23 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men as they deal with challenges such as family separation, racial discrimination and prejudice to successfully pursue a career in nursing.

More Reviews »

Dr Sally Goold OAM
Senior Australian of the Year 2006

Book Launch
By Peter Beattie MP
4 December 2005

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