After completing a student placement in Central Australia, Registered Nurse Melissa Godden has returned to the Northern Territory to undertake a Graduate Nurse Program at Alice Springs Hospital. She discusses the experience of going to Alice Springs for the first time and now returning to work in the town she fell in love with.
After working in Adelaide as a carer for a number of years, Melissa recognised the need to go further in her career. She felt that she had exhausted the challenges as a carer and while she was passionate about working with people with disabilities, she wanted to experience ‘something more’.
In her final year of her nursing degree at Flinders University, Melissa got the opportunity to experience that ‘something more’ when she received an email inviting expressions of interest from students wishing to undertake an eight-week placement in Alice Springs. She felt ready for the next challenge and submitted an application.
“I was brought up in a small community before moving to Adelaide and I think this helped in my instant love of Alice Springs,” she says. “Over the two months that I was here as a student, I got swept up with all that Alice Springs has to offer. I was fascinated by the difference of culture and community in Alice Springs compared to Adelaide. It felt like home. The locals, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous were very friendly. It was not the same as a big city – everyone was so welcoming.
“I really enjoyed my placement at the Alice Springs Hospital which provided me with some valuable learning opportunities. I would get up in the morning excited to go to work.”
As well as full-time placement shifts, Melissa was able to join a local netball team, tour local areas of interest such as Uluru and the MacDonnell Ranges, visit the markets every weekend and meet other students on placement as well as locals. She also got the opportunity to spend two weeks in the remote community of Yuelemu.
“Yuelemu was a fantastic learning experience that is definitely not available in a text book,” she says. “I got the opportunity to practice my acute nursing skills and also to manage chronic conditions and undertake health promotion activities. It was great living and working in the community. I had the unique opportunity to see both acute and primary care and to gain a holistic understanding of the health journey of my clients. When I got back to Adelaide I saw the world in a different way.”
But it was the lifestyle that made Melissa return to Alice Springs following graduation, and last month she commenced her graduate program with Alice Springs Hospital.
“Alice Springs was my first choice for a graduate program and I was very excited when I was notified that I had been successful,” she says. “Now that I am here it’s everything I had hoped. The staff is incredibly supportive and I have made some great friends in the graduate group. My aim is to complete my Graduate Certificate in Critical Care after finishing my Graduate program and there is a lot of support here for me to do that. I have never been so happy and I don’t really see myself going back to Adelaide. The world is my oyster again.”
For information on Nursing and Allied health placements in Central Australia please contact the Centre for Remote Health at firstname.lastname@example.org