On July 18, 4 staff members from the Centre for Remote Health set out on a road trip to Mt Isa, Queensland, 1168 kms away, to be part of the 8th Biennial national remote health conference ‘Are You Remotely Interested?‘ hosted by the Mt Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (MICRRH). There were many dedicated students and health professionals in attendance willing to share their ideas on “Rural and Remote Health workforce – Transition into Practice.” A highlight was having dinner with The Honourable Dr David Gillespie, the newly appointed Assistant Minister for Rural Health. Dr Gillespie was left in no doubt as to the passion for Remote health that was in the room.
Safety of remote health professionals
Safety of remote health professionals was a major focus of the conference. Centre for Remote Health’s Academic Leader, Associate Professor Sue Lenthall presented her research project ‘Back from the edge, Reducing Occupational Stress among Remote Area Nurses’ which developed system changes to reduce occupational stress among Remote Area Nurses.
Read media coverage of Sue’s presentation ‘Stop all solo call outs for RANs’ says Professor by North West Star
In conjunction with Kylie McCullough from Edith Cowan University, Sue also presented on ‘Reducing violence against Remote Health Professionals’ and participated in an expert panel on Safety in Remote Practice.
At the conference dinner, Sue was presented with an award for ‘Honorary Contribution and Commitment to Rural and Remote Health’.
Remote Primary Health Care Manuals: clinical guidelines for the remote setting
Allison Gray and Lyn Byers from the Centre for Remote Health presented the “Remote Primary Health Care Manuals: clinical guidelines for the remote setting”. The manuals are a tool to support clinicians deal with a range of health, social and work conditions for which their training may have left them ill-prepared. They have been developed by the practitioner, for the practitioner and their strength lies in the collaborative nature of their development. Experts in various fields provide best practice evidence, which clinicians on the ground develop into practical guidelines, tailored to the remote setting.
Do rural and remote placements make students ‘remotely interested’?
Annie Farthing from the Centre for Remote Health presented research findings on behalf of the 11 University Departments of Rural Health on the experiences of health students undertaking placements in remote and rural areas around Australia. The research is the result of a collaboration under the banner of the Australian Rural Health Education Network (ARHEN) which surveyed over 3200 students who had a placement experience in remote and rural Australia. Students overwhelmingly were satisfied with their placements with a significant shift in the students’ intentions to work in these areas after graduation. This quote really captures what many of the students said:
‘Thank you for coordinating my placement. I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to come out to gain an idea of what rural practice would be like. I wanted to do this before committing to a rural or remote program and I am now quite certain that I’ll be pursuing a grad position in remote Australia.‘
Read media coverage of Annie’s presentation Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health conference explores attraction of rural placements by North West Star