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Maternal and Child Health Services Expand at GEGAC

Gippsland Lakes Complete Health Maternal & Child Health Nurse Lauren Slayford will provide services at GEGAC one day a week. Photo: Troy Brown/GEGAC

GEGAC’s Koori Maternity Service team is expanding, thanks to a new partnership with Gippsland Lakes Complete Health (GLCH).

GLCH Maternal & Child Health Nurse Lauren Slayford will be working onsite here at GEGAC every Monday, providing health and developmental checks for infants and young children, promoting responsive parenting, and supporting emotional wellbeing for mums and their boorai.

Lauren’s role is to provide support, guidance and information on the emotional and physical growth and development of infants and children.

“This collaboration between GEGAC and GLCH provides a great option for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to be seen by a Maternal Child Health Nurse in a space that is culturally safe,” Lauren said. “It seems to have been very well received by community so far.”

She joins Midwife Colleen Cross and Maternity Health Worker Samantha Johnstone on GEGAC’s Koori Maternity Services team.

Lauren and her two sisters grew up in Rosedale, and she went to school in Sale.

Some of us grow up not knowing exactly what we want to be when we get older, but that definitely was not the case for Lauren.

“I knew growing up that I wanted to be a nurse,” she said.

Often we are inspired by certain things or certain people to do and pursue what we love.

In Lauren’s case, she was inspired by members of her family.

“My older sister is a nurse, so I had lot of exposure to nursing,” she said. 

Lauren is very passionate about what she does – “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

Lauren said it was a stint of work experience during her teenage years that convinced her of what her future career path would be.

“That was the point where I knew that this is what I was going to do,” she said.

So, after graduating from high school, Lauren decided to go to Monash University to study a Bachelor of Nursing and Rural Health.

Lauren’s commitment to expanding her career through ongoing education has continued – she later completed a Graduate Diploma of Midwifery at Monash, and most recently a Graduate Diploma in Child, Family and Community Nursing.

With a love of travel and seeing new places, after graduating from university Lauren lived and worked in Brisbane and then Perth.

After a few years away, in 2009 she decided to return to her home country of East Gippsland, and has worked in nursing and maternity services in Sale and Bairnsdale ever since.

In that time Lauren has also become a mum herself, giving her a helpful insight into some of the challenges that new mums face.

She says one of the benefits of having GLCH’s Maternal Child Health Nurse based at GEGAC one day a week is the close proximity of other services.

“The families seem to especially like the fact that, while they’re here at GEGAC they also have access to the medical clinic practice nurses who can conveniently provide immunisations at the same time, the new Aboriginal Health Team is here, the dental clinic is here, as well as the kindy and playgroup,” Lauren says.

Lauren continues to devote her time and knowledge to ensuring that mothers and children are beyond safe throughout the early life of raising a child.

Having a Maternal and Child Health Nurse regularly check your child’s health and development in their early years can identify supports they might need, and track how your child is growing and developing.

For more information about GEGAC Koori Maternity Services, contact the Brabuwooloong Medical Clinic at 5150 0760.

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