Meeting the needs of Indigenous children in Central Australia

Miss Yemaya Swift1

1Alice Springs Hospital, Alice Springs, Australia


The Paediatric Service of Alice Springs Hospital are continuously faced with health care challenges due to their isolated geographic location, vast cultural differences and increasing workforce shortages. These health determents play a significant role in the services ability to meet the needs of children living in Central Australia.

Our Paediatric Service aims to deliver holistic care to Indigenous children from Alice Springs town and remote communities. Due to geographic barriers, we regularly communicate with remote health clinics and the Royal Flying Doctors Service in order for a safe retrieval of the child and their care giver.

The Paediatric Service fosters strong cultural safety in the delivery of our care to Indigenous children and families, many whom have no or limited English and with diverse cultural needs. Furthermore, the team face significant staff turnover and shortages all year round due to the challenges of isolation. Workplace shortages continue to present challenges and lies in the need for better training opportunities and support for relocating nurses.

This presentation will discuss in detail the challenges of faced by paediatric nurses in Central Australia. The paper will use case studies to discuss the current issues faced by the Paediatric Service and will make recommendations based on interviews to improve the delivery of health care for Indigenous children of Central Australia.


Yemaya Swift, RN


Yemaya is a descendant of Wangal people. She completed the Bachelor of Nursing at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW and was vice president of the Indigenous Student Association and the Indigenous Health Officer of for her Rural Health Club. Yemaya has worked at Alice Spring Hospital on the Paediatric Ward for the past three years. She has a strong interest in research and education, becoming a research nurse for Menzies and a tutor for Indigenous nursing students.