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This Queensland Multicultural Month, QEII Hospital’s first Multicultural Nurse Navigator Aline Mweze celebrated one year in the role—over which time she has supported hundreds of patients with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
Originally from Rwanda and the Congo in Africa and with English as her second language, Ms Mweze drew upon her personal experiences to connect with patients.
“QEII is a culturally diverse hospital with about 25 per cent of our patients coming from CALD backgrounds,” she said.
“Having lived in many countries where I had to learn a new language and embrace new cultures, I can relate to a lot of my patients and truly understand and appreciate their unique circumstances.”
Ms Mweze, who speaks seven languages, was dedicated to establishing a two-way line of communication and understanding between QEII Hospital and Brisbane’s different cultural communities.
“In my role I hope to teach QEII staff and the wider health service about cultural sensitivity and awareness but also educate and connect with the CALD community,” she said.
For patients from CALD backgrounds, moving through the healthcare system can be both confusing and daunting and often there are misconceptions about cost and treatment options.
Enter the Multicultural Nurse Navigator, a registered nurse with navigation training tailored to support complex patients with language barriers, low health literacy, and higher representation rates.
Ms Mweze was one of three Multicultural Nurse Navigators employed by Metro South Health (MSH) who spend more than half their time in the community visiting patients and coordinating care.
“Myself and my two colleagues love to attend community events where we can connect with patients, their families and entire communities,” she said.
“We can dedicate time to educating people about when they should see a GP versus going to the hospital, and provide advice and guidance.”
Image credit: QNMU