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What inspired you to get into Rural WA nursing?
I am a very caring, loving person and love small towns/rural areas. I wanted to be amongst the communities and help others/try to make a difference, and also to try and see all of WA. When I was in the Kimberly’s I went birding with a local man and saw the most amazing things gouldian Finches, brolgas and amazing scenery.
Then on the flip side, what do you do in your spare time?
I explore, I set up a travel page in the hope that it inspires others, I walk, swim, dive, snorkel, hike, read, relax, sunbathe and try to go to places that no one would think of going to. It’s incredible what you can find if you look.
Why did you choose to work in WA out of everywhere else in Australia?
I came across WA nursing by accident to be honest, and I am so pleased I did! I was originally meant to go to Queensland, like most kiwi nurses on their first contracts. It was during COVID and I had a flight booked, but all borders were shut. It took me 3 attempts and I finally got in on a 2-week window of green flights. I had to isolate in Perth for 2 weeks, but I made the most of it. During self-isolation, I did YouTube classes like Yoga with Alison and Chloe Ting and fat burner fitness classes. I was lucky to have a deck, so I put a paddling pool on the deck which was a great way to cool off and something fun. In WA, you definitely need a ute for the distances here, but I hired a car for a while so that I could explore.
How does it differ from nursing in big hospitals. How is your day different?
Working remote is the single most amazing experience, I love it, and I’m not going back to large hospitals in New Zealand again. Being rural remote you have the time to care for people, you also can get a very high acuity and complex presentations which challenge you. I will never forget ever my first day on a new contract saving a person’s life post cardiac arrest and then walking in a month later with a candle and card to say thank you, we both cried. It makes you realise that no matter what you do, it does make a difference. These small communities rely on the small health centres as it’s all they have they can be hours from help in terms of blood, CTs, surgeries etc. The team in Kalbarri have blown me away with how they were at work during the cyclone to be there for their community, to a member of the community popping in on Christmas Day with fresh crayfish to nibble on.
To wrap up, what’s next for you + are there any other cool spots or advice you would like to share?
Def put these on your list, Lake Argyle sunset tour where you are passed a glass of bubbles swimming with fresh water crocodiles. Def go to the waterfalls and walks on the Gibb River road, add the Lower Ord boat tour but do the one where you go there and back on the boat, it was simply the most beautiful ride I’ve ever done. Add the Albrolhas Islands catch a plane from Kalbarri do the snorkel swim tour you won’t regret it. Lastly, swim with the sea lions in Jurien Bay. I have not even scratched the surface of what I want to do yet. But long term it’s to get a 4 × 4 and caravan and circumnavigate Australia while agency nursing and enjoying each post as I go. A bit of luxury and a bit of roughing it is the only way to go.
I truly love my life now and my career. I was burnt out and working hard long hours in NZ for minimal pay with burnout unhappy staff. Now I am working in communities where they are happy, respect and value each other and the experiences and learning never end. I have encouraged my colleagues to come try nursing and there are already a lot of us here, honestly I feel blessed to have met HCA and Caroline she has always supported me in good times and challenging times where I have had to move places, I feel safe and secure with HCA.
If you’re a Kiwi nurse, you can read more about coming over to Australia to work with HCA HERE.
— Vanessa P