Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from and what is your nursing speciality you are where you from and like what you like nursing speciality
My name’s Sally and I finished my training in 1986 years and went into ICU, did some travelling overseas, and now am working in Melbourne in anaesthetics-recovery while picking up remote area nursing contracts in between. I’ve been doing this for at least 10 years.
How do you can’t find yourself gone from Melbourne to working as a Remote Area Nurse (RAN)?
Well after completing a post-grad I was applying for work in Melbourne and was struggling to find work due to a lack of experience and it was actually suggested to head up to the Northern Territory to find work remote area nursing and I really enjoyed the lifestyle of working remote while living in Melbourne. From there, I joined HCA initially because after just working Northern Territory I felt I wanted to sort of branch out and work in some other states and Healthcare Australia was Australia-wide.
You’ve touched on how HCA is national, how has working nationally helped with your travel nursing endeavours?
It’s been great as you can work at home in the city but then might work contracts in between. During Lockdown I actually stayed and worked up in Townsville because I was sick of being stuck in Melbourne which was doubly handy as it was closer to mum too. Being a national company has wrought plenty of opportunities I feel I wouldn’t have otherwise had.
What you done previously like so you said you weren’t quite a bit of across the Northern Territory like or what sort of places would that look like that where do I previously there well I probably done
I’ve probably done about 15-20 placements in the Northern Territory, including some Remote Area Nursing on the islands such as Elcho and Milingimbi – all over really. I’m keen to go anywhere provided the dates line up.
What would you tell someone interested in working remote who might not have previously, or may have only worked rurally?
Definitely squeeze in a Top End experience somewhere along the line, you’ll experience things that you would never see in a Victorian facility. The dry season is beautiful, and the wet season is just as impressive with amazing lightning and the rain storms, it’s definitely worth seeing for yourself.
I would also advise people to be informed and to do a few of the recommended courses. CRANA is one provider of these courses. Because of this you should e have to be of the mindset that there’s something that you really want to do because some of the courses are quite expensive, although you can claim these on your Healthcare Australia Education Allowance.
Bearing that in mind, you really have to want to do it. The work is well paid but I don’t think money should the motivation for you going. You should also go in with a resilient mindset and positive attitude, knowing that you will have an amazing experience where there will be plenty of takeaways and lessons learnt. Overall, be prepared for the unexpected and expect to be independent in your work.
Ultimately, if you want some adventure and you want to experience something outside the ordinary then working remote is the way. Working remote is unlike your traditional practice within a hospital it’s really quite different.
To prepare yourself and for support there’s some great Facebook groups that you can join to speak to other nurses and healthcare workers on my social media. Overall though get the experience behind you with the courses to be ready and go, go, go!
I’m just looking at your photos again there any kind of that stick out to you from your adventures or any places that you’d like go back to a heartbeat
The Northern Territory the whole is just an amazing place to visit you know whether it’s Central or Top End. There’s the red dirt, exotic bird life, and the feeling of just being so remote. There’s not many places in the world that you can have that feeling.
Something that’s also special is working in the different communities where not many white people have been or invited. There was a time I went out to a waterfall with one of the locals to go fishing. It was special having the privilege of that that experience away from away from day-to-day pressures of traffic having to be places and I’m still working; particularly when where countless others won’t ever enjoy that moment.
When on placement sometimes my partner comes with me, and we take our camper trailer. It’s a lot of fun doing driving all through the country too. One spot that’s special to me is about three hours from Alice Springs. This spot if known as Tower Rock and it’s in a Conservation Park. There’s been a couple of times where we’ve been the only people there. Having those experiences make makes going to these remote locations is quite special.
How does remote work compare to work in a metropolitan setting
I probably do more hours remote area nursing than what I do back in Melbourne but I feel I have more time. Yeah, you get to skip an all the Hustle and bustle that comes with living in the city. I have immense respect for my colleagues and healthcare workers out in these remote settings. I always find myself asking lots of questions. Asking questions is also something that will help people that might be interested in working remote.
When working in a remote setting I think you must be confident in your knowledge, even when you don’t know everything. I think you have to be confident and go with your gut feeling when working within the scope of practise. Plus, you’re really worried about something help is only a phone call the way too.
When I’m back working in Melbourne I find that I’m using different skills to those I would when out travel nursing on a remote placement. However, I find I am a lot more confident in my assessment skills. For instance, I recently came cross a motorcycle accident and I was the first responder, so all that remote experience and skills really helped in that instance. I was very confident in that situation and was able to assess the situation and overall am able to administer the appropriate treatment.
That aside I find that I’m more confident in dealing with indigenous people living in metropolitan areas as I have a deeper of their culture.
What’s next for you
I’m off to Cambodia actually on Thursday and then I think I’m gonna head off remote with partner when I’m back, so I’ll be pick up another contract maybe June or July remote area nursing. I think we last went to Central Australia that was lots of fun so I’ll probably be looking for some work central time.
That’s probably half of the year covered so we’ll see what happens after that.
– Sally A.
HCA R&R RAN