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Introducing HCA Travel Nurse Ally…
My name is Ally and I live in Ipswich QLD. I graduated from my Diploma in Nursing at the end of 2019. I’m currently studying my Bachelor of Nursing while travel nursing. I have experience in Aged Care, General Practice and Medical/Surgical Ward work.
So, your current placement is in Andamooka, South Australia. What’s that been like?
Andamooka is a little town in rural South Australia. It’s around 600km north of Adelaide. It has a population of approximately 300. Andamooka is known for its opal mining. I love working in remote locations like this. You get to visit places you’ve never heard of before and otherwise would not likely visit. The landscapes are all so different. As are the people who make up the community. It’s a privilege to experience something so different without having to leave the country.
I’ve been working with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and it’s been great. The whole set up is incredible.
Is working with the RFDS something you have done before or aspired to do?
I’ve always been intrigued by RFDS. They do some amazing work. I do enjoy rural and remote work so I would definitely be keen on becoming a flight nurse down the track. Will take a lot of experience and education to get to that point. Definitely something to work towards.
I’ve just arrived today, but so far so good. I flew to Andamooka from the RFDS hangar this morning and arrived in Andamooka at 11.30am this morning. I’m very excited.
When working with the RFDS what does your average day look like?
The clinic is staffed by a RAN and a Health Care Assistant (my role). We provide a nurse led health service in remote locations where it is difficult for people to access health care. The clinic is open Mon – Fri (0900 – 1700) but we are on-call 24/7.. There is a doctor available via Telehealth through RFDS who will provide advice and information to help with treatment options, provide a phone order for medication, and so on.
While we are at the clinic I am an offside for the RAN. We do a lot of blood pressure checks, pathology collection, administration of IVABs, vaccination, child health checks, pregnancy support, etc. Basically, we provide whatever anyone in the community needs.
Any tips for someone keen to work in a site like this when they haven’t previously?
Pack light so that you can purchase groceries to take with you. Options are limited and expensive.
Have decent luggage. When you traipse around with your luggage across rugged terrain, the last thing you need is for a strap, zipper, wheel, etc to break.
Bring a few good books, some crafting supplies and an iPad. If your able to, buy a pillow that you can easily pack in your luggage. I have one from Ecosa and you can squish it in a vacuum sealed bag and easily fit it in your luggage.
Take as many opportunities as possible in this kind of work as you can. Be flexible if possible, the one thing you can count on in rural and remote is that you can’t count on anything. Also, always pack a jumper. Just in case.
I can see you’re based in QLD, how do you choose your placements?
I do like requesting to go to somewhere I haven’t been before. So far in my travel nursing career I have worked in Brisbane QLD, Halls Creek WA, Cooktown QLD, Bamaga, QLD, Thursday Island QLD, Milingimbi NT, and now Andamooka. Next I would like to try Tasmania or New South Wales.
Share with us – are there any cool spots you’ve visited during your travels you would like to share?
My favourite destination so far I’ve seen while travel nursing is Thursday Island. I honestly could live there. The locals are lovely, and the place is paradise on Earth.
When I was working in Bamaga I took a trip out to The Tip. The northern-most tip of Australia. That was absolutely stunning. I’m not much of a hiker, but I did that trek a few times while I was in Bamaga.
What’s your absolute favourite moment of working with HCA so far?
Working with my consultant Mallory. She has been a wonderful person to have as my point of contact. She’s never too busy to take my call or respond to my messages (even though I’m sure she really is). She is so supportive and appreciative.
What do you think is next for you – where would you want to go?
I think I would like to go somewhere beachside (with no crocodiles so I can swim). A summer by the ocean sounds pretty sweet to me!
We’ve built a list of 7 Essential Travel Nursing Destinations this Christmas that’re sure to catch your eye to visit this summer.