Cieon Hilton

Health Science
Health/Medical Services
Gold Coast
Summer 2019


I began my internship with the First Peoples Health Unit at Griffith University on the Gold Coast at the beginning of this year, as part of the Aurora Internship Program. I was touched and impressed at how welcome I was when I first arrived. Everyone genuinely wanted to know who I was and where I was from. My supervisor took me aside and asked me a lot of questions, but I felt it was different to other internships that I have undertaken. FPHU genuinely wanted to know what I would get out of my placement as well as what I could offer. Based on my experience and skills they decided that I would do qualitative analysis on interviews conducted with staff who implemented an initial trial of a course on culturally safe care to First Peoples for first and second year nursing and midwifery students.

Part of my role in qualitative analysis was to be aware of the different biases that I would come across in the interviews and to be aware of my own biases and position as a non-Indigenous person. This was an interesting process both personally and professionally and I learned a lot about keeping a distance from the data in order to extract data that best represented the content.

After collating all the data from the interviews my next task was to write a report of my findings. I also found this to be a very interesting challenge as I had to summarise pages and pages of information into a consolidated report. Based on the findings, I also had to recommend future changes that could be viable to implement into the ongoing curriculum of the course. Near the end of my internship I met the FPHU research assistant and I handed over my findings alongside the coding that I had completed. It was also a challenge to articulate what I had been working on for the past weeks in a comprehensible way. The skills I learned and the socio-cultural and political history and current events that I was exposed to at FPHU will always stay with me.

I was impressed with the role of the First Peoples Health Unit and what they were setting out to achieve for First Peoples Health. I felt grateful that the work I did at FPHU contributed to their research and that my story felt valued. During my time there I gained a deeper framework for First Peoples Health, institutionalised racism, intergenerational trauma. I also learned the importance of relational work such as sharing stories with members of the community and finding out where they are from and what they are about. This knowledge has enabled me to continue discussing these topics outside of my internship and to encourage reflection from people who may not have previously considered the ramifications of culturally unsafe care.