Kelly Trudgen - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Division, Queensland Health

WINNER - Excellence in Leadership and Governance Award, proudly supported by QSuper

Kelly is Nursing Director, First Nations COVID-19 Response with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Division, Queensland Health. She is an experienced nurse leader with a key focus on First Nations health and First Nations health workforce development. 

In her role as Nursing Director, Kelly led discussions around developing the First Nations workforce and a strategic plan to address health equity. This began with identifying a need to develop a dedicated First Nations vaccination clinic for the COVID-19 vaccination program, and escalating concerns around the system not accommodating a vulnerable sector of the community. She advocated and led the implementation of such a clinic at Redcliffe Hospital.

Kelly’s role also allowed her to act as a voice for all nurses and midwives by connecting with key stakeholders, including Clinical Excellence Queensland, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, state and federal government departments, tertiary educational institutions, and the QNMU. 

Kelly often speaks at national and state forums for nurses and midwives, including the Rural and Remote Clinical Network and Cancer Nurses Society of Australia, on the work she has done to advocate for the First Nations workforce during COVID-19. She also speaks about the importance of consulting on cultural capability and developing culturally accepted care.


"I was asked to speak at the Cancer Nurses Society’s Congress recently, from a First Nations perspective. The session “Towards making tracks, no more lip service” focused on health equity and cultural capability for Cancer Nurses. I spoke from my experience as an emergency nurse, and of my experience of my father being Aboriginal passing away from cancer. It was a very powerful session, and afterwards someone came up to me and told me about her grandmother who was part of the Stolen Generation, and because of listening to me, she now wanted to identify as First Nations. She also since asked me to do some workshops with the McGrath Foundation to talk further about health equity and cultural capability. In all, it was really heart-warming." 

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