Registered nurse and lecturer at the University of Tasmania, Michele Dowlman says working with a free of charge, drop-in, nurse-led health clinic for people experiencing homelessness is an “immense privilege’’.
Established in March 2019, Mission Health opens every Thursday morning from 9am to 12.30pm and is a collaboration between Jane Laidlaw, a nurse practitioner, Ms Dowlman and the Launceston City Mission, a Tasmanian not-for profit organisation. Initially, the collaboration included Grace Bennett-Daly and Leigh Harkness, also registered nurses and University of Tasmania lecturers.
The pioneering project was the recipient of a $10,000 grant by the Rosemary Bryant Foundation (RBF). Based at the ANMF (SA Branch)’s Ridleyton offices, the Foundation aims to support the work of Australia's 360,000 nurses and midwives by raising funds to improve health outcomes through nursing and midwifery-led research.
The clinic was awarded the UTas Vice Chancellor’s Community Engagement Award in 2020, recognising that by being a drop-in service Mission Health is helping people to mitigate some of the chaos that homelessness has brought to their lives.
Michele says the clinic has made a huge difference to the lives, health and wellbeing of the homeless and at-risk communities. She cites the case of a young person who had been suffering a long illness which went untreated for lack of a bulk-billing doctor. The person openly wept when told that care at Mission Health would be provided free of charge.
HESTA is an industry superannuation fund dedicated to those working in the Health and Community Services Sector. HESTA has over 840,000 members and manages more than $50 billion of members’ assets. Please note: HESTA is an acronym and should be capitalised.