Matthew Shields, UTS nursing student.
by Sophia Romano
This article originally appeared in the Koori Mail 21 September 2011 issue.
During In-fusion Festival recently at UTS Matt Shields showed off his acrobatic talents which he became famous for Australia-wide on Australia’s Got Talent, but Matt is here for another reason, he’s halfway through his first year of a Bachelor of Nursing. "You have to take every opportunity that is offered to you, if you’re interested. Don’t be shame."
Matt who is a Kamiliroy man from Walgett, decided to become a nurse for a lot of reasons, he thought that not only is it a great career, but also the knowledge you can gain is invaluable, "I chose to study nursing because of the high prevalence of health problems in the Aboriginal community. I want to be a nurse to educate people, because that is one of a nurse’s core roles. After care, care is core, but education is second."
Matt said he decided to come to UTS because it is renowned for having one of the best Nursing and Midwifery courses in the country. But it was his belief in science and medicine which gave him the final push to come to UTS, he said that, "one of the reasons I like the course is the scientific approach to teaching students to care for the lives of others."
"You can tell that they want us to get through and become great nurses. They care for us... their approach to detail and the way they take you step by step and lead you through, they are wonderful.
"Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning has a great relationship with the faculty and that extra support really helps. Jumbunna help me holistically, they have made a plan for me which helps me have a balanced life between study and personal stuff.
"Through ITAS (the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme) I have been able to find a lot of great tutors. I have a nurse, a doctor and a teacher. They provide me with professional knowledge and guidance which I couldn’t get otherwise."
Matt has come full circle, "I grew up thinking I wasn’t as smart as the non-Aboriginal kids but it’s just the difference in how we learn. I grew up shame because of that but it’s not true. To break that cycle we need education."
But for Matt it is more than that, You have to work out the system, we just have a different way of doing things, that’s another thing Jumbunna helps me with.