June 1, 2023

Executive Yarning Circle empowers Aboriginal staff

This week is National Reconciliation Week. A time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements.

Northern Health has recently established an Executive Yarning Circle, specifically designed to support and empower Aboriginal staff members, in a newly refurbished Aboriginal Cultural Space.

This initiative aims to create a safe and culturally sensitive space where Aboriginal employees can come together, share their experiences and contribute to decision-making processes.

The Executive Yarning Circle serves as a valuable platform for fostering meaningful connections, promoting cultural awareness and driving positive change within the organisation. It also provides a unique opportunity for Aboriginal staff to build strong connections and form a supportive network. By coming together in this safe and respectful environment, participants can engage in open dialogue, share their stories and discuss their challenges and successes.

Moira Rayner, Emergency Department Aboriginal Liaison Officer, said, “the Yarning Circle here at Northern Health with our Executive Director has created a new and unique way of addressing Aboriginal health and wellbeing in this space. This is the true spirit of reconciliation.”

Cultural awareness and understanding are vital elements in creating an inclusive and culturally competent healthcare organisation. The Executive Yarning Circle plays a significant role in promoting cultural awareness among Northern Health’s leadership team and decision-makers.

Through active listening and engaging in yarning circles, the Executive team can gain deeper insights into the unique perspectives, cultural practices and needs of Aboriginal staff. This knowledge helps inform policies, practices and strategies that are more aligned with the cultural values and aspirations of the Aboriginal community.

Jason Cirone, Chief Allied Health Officer, said, “the Executive Yarning Circle provides a regular, culturally safe opportunity for Aboriginal staff and leaders to share important information, without the formalities of a standard meeting. It’s a privilege to sit together and reflect differently on what’s important, what is working and what needs attention.”

The Executive Yarning Circle also serves as a powerful mechanism for Aboriginal staff to influence decision-making processes within Northern Health. The circle provides an avenue for employees to voice their opinions, contribute ideas and provide valuable input on matters that impact their work environment.

Furthermore, the circle is a platform for mentoring and the sharing of knowledge and expertise, creating a nurturing environment for both personal and professional development. The circle will be a catalyst for positive change, driving initiatives that foster cultural safety, strengthen relationships and enhance the overall wellbeing of Aboriginal employees.

The establishment of the Northern Health Executive Yarning Circle for Aboriginal staff marks a significant step forward in the organisation’s journey toward Aboriginal cultural safety. This initiative not only provides a supportive network for Aboriginal employees but also empowers them to contribute to decision-making processes and influence positive change within Northern Health, ultimately benefiting both staff and the community.

Featured image left to right shows Moira Rayner, Emergency Department Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Stephanie Thompson, Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Toni Gabelish, Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Karen Byrant, Senior Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Tya Fry, Occupational Therapist, Natalie Bloomfield, Aboriginal Clinical Support Nurse, and Jason Cirone, Chief Allied Health Officer, in the Aboriginal Cultural Space.