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Outback to Ocean: Remote Area Nursing Stories from Burnie to Timber Creek
Agency Nurses

Outback to Ocean: Remote Area Nursing Stories from Burnie to Timber Creek

Teagan, hailing from Perth, has firsthand experience of the unique challenges and rewards of providing medical care whilst Remote Area Nursing in Australia’s most picturesque and isolated regions. I had the opportunity to interview her last month, here’s what she had to say about the vital role she plays in our communities with HCA…

I have been with HCA for just over a year now, I’m from Perth in WA and am in my 4th year of Nursing. I did two and a half years of nursing before joining HCA. One year of that was moving around with WACHS (WA Country Health Service). My skillset is mostly rural ED with some MPS primary care which means I’m pretty prepared for whatever situation decides to walk through the door.


What inspired you to start Remote Area Nursing?

I always loved country nursing, the people you see and meet day to day are just wonderful. Plus, being able to travel nurse and sightsee while full time made rural and remote the best option.

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When working R&R in Burnie, Tasmania expect penguins!

So most recently you’ve travel nursed at Timber Creek with Katherine West Health Board. What did a typical day look like here?

At Timber Creek they service two other clinics four days a week. This means there’s a lot of driving involved, such is the life of a Remote Area Nurse. The drives range from 30 min to approximately two hours, but the best bit is that you are traversing through the beautiful country on the drive which makes it all worth it. Usually, you get in and have a team meeting to discuss people you need to see, setup your clinic room and restock, then see to what are mostly GP presentations during clinic hours.


Being a remote community, you see all the chronic health conditions – anaemic, kidney disease, diabetes, and ear health. KWHB clinics use the CARPA manual for care, but there’s always a doctor you can speak to for the more complex cases or any questions you have. If you are on call after the working day typically you’ll be seeing more emergency presentations from the clinic ambulance.

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Palm Valley, NT is home to the Red Cabbage Palm. This, among other rare plants, can only found in this area.

How did you keep yourself busy outside of work?

I love to go for bushwalks, so I’m always recruiting my colleagues to join me. I will look into all the recommended sites and parks nearby and tick them off. Luckily I drive to most of my contracts so I can travel pretty heavy with my sewing equipment too.


Highlight of the contract – both in and out of work?

Would have to be the flight to the KWHB Amanbidji clinic, was a stunning 30-minute flight over gorges, mesas and rivers.

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Sunset views of the Victoria River beside Timber Creek

I can see on your file that you’ve also worked with HCA WA between Rural and Contracts. Is there anything you wanted to share about that experience?

I enjoy being able to go home – my base is Perth, so I can see family and picking up casual shifts with HCA WA helps me to stay longer with family while still having an income before I head off for my next travel nursing contract.


How was your contract in Burnie as part of the Emergency Response / Surge Team? Was there anything different about this contract being an Emergency Response one compared to the other ones you’ve picked up?

I had a great time at Burnie, it was one of the larger ED’s I’ve worked in. I loved being able to explore northwest Tasmania while I was there. From Burnie I was fortunate enough to see some pretty awesome places, including cradle mountain in full snow, in summer!

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Hiking in Tasmania is simply breathtaking


I have done 5 contracts while working with HCA’s Emergency Response team: Grafton, Lismore, Burnie, Kalgoorlie and Port Hedland. The ED contracts were all similar, and I really enjoyed all of them.


This differed to my time working as a RAN out at Timber Creek as the presentations and care goals in Timber Creek were much more orientated to primary care, screening and prevention rather than the ED treatment and admission. With Surge contacts you have to be prepared to be working short staffed and asked to do lots of overtime.


Any tips for someone keen to work rural and remote with HCA when they haven’t previously?

If you have ED experience already then make the jump! If not, I would recommend starting in an MPS (Multi-Purpose Service) site in your state for a few months before jumping into Remote Area Nursing. This helps you get some insight into rural nursing and the ED flow before going Agency.


As usually agency is expected to hit the floor running. CRANA run some great courses, I would really recommend the MEC course as a foundation for understanding pregnancy and birth a little bit. And the TNCC for trauma care.

remote area nursing
Having a car gives you a-lot more options for time off and can help to reduce the feelings of isolation that can come when so far away from friends and family.


If you are planning on doing multiple contracts, then consider driving as WA is too beautiful not to explore!


— Teagan H



If you’re interested in Remote Area Nursing but not quite sure where to start we’ve walking you through HCA’s RAN pathway, check it out: 4 Locations Showcasing HCA’s Remote Area Nursing Pathway

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