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North Qld scholarship student Tehanna helps bridge healthcare gap


A young North Queensland woman awarded an Indigenous scholarship to study a Diploma of Nursing at Mater Private Hospital Townsville is on a mission to make her childhood dream a reality.

Townsville’s Tehanna Tanerau-Love, 20, an Aboriginal Yorta Yorta woman with Māori ties, says a career in nursing will help her connect with her community and provide the opportunity to give back to her mob. 

Ms Tanerau-Love said she had always dreamed of following in her grandmother’s footsteps by becoming a nurse.

“My ultimate goal is to work in remote and rural Aboriginal communities to have a meaningful impact on people’s lives,” Ms Tanerau-Love said. 

“It brings me joy to be able to make a positive difference to the lives of individuals, regardless of their background, and help them thrive.”

She said Mater Education nursing scholarships were helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people work in regional and remote communities, while closing the gap between First Nations and non-First Nations Australians in Queensland’s healthcare workforce.

"My grandma is a twin and she and her sister worked at Mater for many years as registered nurses," Ms Tanerau-Love, who works part-time as a health worker on Palm Island said. 

"I remember when I was a kid, my brother and I were living with grandma and we'd go with her to the Mater in the middle of the night when she was called in and we'd hang out in the lunch room.

"I have a lot of great role models. My other grandma is a CEO of an Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation and my sister is a social worker.

“My grandmothers are my role models and I have learnt a lot from them both over the years.”

Mater Private Hospital Townsville Executive Officer Stephanie Barwick said it was great to see students like Ms Tanerau-Love looking to close the gap and build connections within their own communities.

“The Indigenous Scholarship program helps play a part in shaping the futures of current Diploma of Nursing students at Mater, as well as providing role models for other young members of Aboriginal communities inspired to pursue a career in healthcare,” Ms Barwick said.

Ms Tanerau-Love started a Diploma of Nursing course in January and will be a qualified Enrolled Nurse in just 18 months’ time. 

"I am looking forward to learning new skills through practical training. I was so amazed that I got the scholarship, it will be a big help to me," Ms Tanerau-Love said.

“Healthcare has always been a passion of mine. I've been working at a medical centre for the last three years and I worked with a lot of nurses. 

"I've also been a patient myself and I'm passionate about caring for people and improving the lives of others. 

"I decided to enrol at Mater because the course seems really hands-on and my way of learning is hands-on." 

Mater Education offers scholarship opportunities for eligible students from an Indigenous or refugee background, as well as those facing financial hardship.

Scholarship applications can be made when putting in an application for a Mater Education course. Access scholarship information here: https://www.matereducation.qld.edu.au/scholarships

Apply for the Diploma of Nursing today and start studying in Townsville in July: mater.li/ApplyForDoN