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What is New to Remote?
Healthcare Australia’s (HCA) New to Remote Pathway is a guided placement journey for candidates interested in remote area nursing. It is unique to HCA and designed to support eligible candidates in developing their existing clinical knowledge and experience towards the goal of working in Remote Health.
How it works is that a candidate expresses interest in the program and then works with their consultant to craft their individual strategic pathway. This journey typically begins working in a rural placement where they’re afforded the support of a larger health care team. Placements will progressively transition to smaller facilities as the candidate’s clinical skills & confidence increase. Healthcare Australia also supports candidates in completing relevant remote area nursing education by highlighting appropriate courses and also through provision of an Education Incentive.
At last, when the candidate is ready, their consultant will support them in their career transition from urban or rural based practice into remote primary healthcare. Consultants will identify placement opportunities across Australia in rural Emergency Departments, Multi-Purpose Centres & primary health care sites that will assist the candidate in being exposed to the following:
- Agency life
- Autonomous practice
- Indigenous Health Aspects
- Primary Healthcare (Remote Area Nursing)
- Rural & Remote Aged Care facilities (Aged Care Nurses & Support Workers)
- On Call/Call out systems
There are two Remote Working Nursing Pathways – each with differing minimum criteria:
Alice Springs is particularly unique as a travel nursing destination, it offers everything you could ask for in a HCA placement including; varied and satisfying clinical workload, indigenous cultural aspects, and breathtaking sights and sounds. The caseload is particularly eclectic thanks to the fact that Alice Springs Hospital covers a vast area that extends from Docker River in the southwest to Willowra in the north, Atitjere (Harts Range) in the east and Aputula (Finke) in the southeast. Further, Alice Springs is the second largest population centre in the Northern Territory after Darwin. 43% of the Central Australian population are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Other options for those looking getting their first real rural experience before entering the world of remote health include: Tennant Creek, Weipa, Aurukun, Kowanyama, Kalgoorlie, Bourke MPS.
Lajamanu, formerly known as Hooker Creek Native Settlement or just Hooker Creek, is located approximately 560 kms south west of Katherine, on the northern edge of the Tanami Desert. Lajamanu is part of the Katherwine West area and is serviced by the Katherine West Health Board (KWHB). Katherine West is a vast area both geographically and culturally; there are 14 indigenous languages present in the region.
Lajamanu has a population of approximately 700; however, like many communities in the NT this can fluctuate dramatically due to seasonal changes and ceremonial activity. This population is composed mostly of the Warlpiri people. Lajamu is very remote, particularly in the wet season wherein it is inaccessible by land. Lajamanu is a dry community with many services waiting to be accessed by the community, this including visiting specialist health services.
Provided you meet the New to Remote criteria and have obtained some remote area nursing training, Lajamanu is a great starting point for your Remote journey. The Aboriginal Health Practitioners are a fantastic guide to the community and holistic practice that is entwined with Remote Area Nursing. Working in Lajamanu has been said to be a great experience as it provides a chance to be exploratory in your learning and develop your understandings of Remote clinical practices without judgement.
Nhulunbuy is a township that is the sixth largest population centre in the Northern Territory of Australia. Nhulunbuy was created on the Gove Peninsula in north-east Arnhem Land when a bauxite mine and a deep water port were established in the late 1960s, followed by an alumina refinery. Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders represent 66% of Nhulunbuy’s total population. Nhulunbuy has all the facilities of any modern town. The town has loads to do & see with a strong community focus on sports. There’s a swimming pool in town, the nurse accommodation is good, there’s great fishing spots to be discovered and plenty of shops to stop for a bite or coffee.
There are three clinics in the vicinity of the Nhulunbuy township: Gunyaŋara, Yirrkala, and Nhulunbuy Town Clinic. Each of these are run by Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation. HCA has provided Miwatj with remote area nurses for 15 years. These clinics provide comprehensive primary health care services for the communities surrounding Nhulunbuy. Further, these clinics provide additional programs relating to Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) and Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) across the Gove Peninsula; plus other non-clinical programs. Collectively these help to maintain the safety and well-being of the community.
“I absolutely loved my time in Wadeye and the new adventures and experiences I was given!… Hoping I can return to Wadeye soon”
When you’re ready to work for the Top End Remote Health Service you’re ready for remote area nursing anywhere. Wadeye, formerly known as but still often called Port Keats, is Similar to Lajamanu in that the road to Wadeye is impassable in the wet season. Despite this Wadeye is the largest indigenous community in the NT with anywhere from 1,248 – 2,548 people residing there depending on seasonality; there are a number of services and amenities in the town too.
Wadeye is notorious for being a challenging community. In 2022 the community grappled with local violence; however since then the staff working in the clinic, humanitarian groups, and government are turning the tide and fostering a culture of peace and joy back in Wadeye. The Health Centre provides 24 hour 7 day a week acute/emergency response through health staff on call and primary health care to the community. This covers antenatal care; growth assessment and action (GAA) program for infants and children under 5; childhood and adult immunisation; healthy school aged kids program; preventable chronic disease (PCD) program; well women’s and well men’s screening; infectious and communicable disease prevention and control.