Strength and influence of the remote experience

Jess Turner, Flinders NT Medical student at Gove District Hosptal, Nhulunbuy
Jess Turner, Flinders NT Medical student at Gove District Hosptal, Nhulunbuy

Jess Turner, a Flinders NT Medical student has returned to Nhulunbuy to undertake a six week rotation at Gove District Hospital. We caught up with her to find out a little about her history with East Arnhem Land.

The Garma Festival initially sparked Jess’s interest in the region when she was sponsored to attend the event as a final year Occupational Therapy (OT) student in 2007.  Jess professes to have been on a steep learning curve with regard to the social determinants of health during that festival.

After Garma, Jess returned to Darwin to complete her OT placement as a new graduate, and with a new sense of purpose she set about getting the experience and skills she would require, creating a ‘toolbox’ so she could return to East Arnhem Land when the opportunity arose. In 2010 she moved to Nhulunbuy, working as a generalist covering aged care and disability caseloads, health promotion and outreach to communities around the entire Arnhem Land region until late 2013.

Time has passed and things have changed. After a successful application to the Flinders NT Medical Program, Jess is now in her final year of Medicine and her rotation at Gove District Hospital has involved a new lot of learning about systems, people, language and place.

Whilst our interview with Jess was very brief and we had many more questions to ask, our take away message was clear; Jess’s story is a powerful reminder to us all of the impact that rural and remote experience can have on an individual. It builds confidence in the way the program works, when a student who has experienced our region returns to further her learning.

Garma Festival, Nhulunbuy, East Arnhem Land
Garma Festival, Nhulunbuy, East Arnhem Land

Annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture
Australia’s leading Indigenous cultural exchange event and a national hub for major forums with discussion, policy and action formulation, and bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through youth forums, art gallery, music, film, song, dance and expo.

Its aim is for reconciliation, education and understanding through sharing of culture and traditional practice; promoting and highlighting Yolngu culture, and creating economic opportunities beneficial to Northeast Arnhem Land.


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Flinders NT Medical Program (NTMP) Student Placements