Childhood travels inspire remote nursing placement – 20 years on

The Flinders NT team at Nhulunbuy recently supported Federation University student, Gretta Ross during her four-week Nursing placement at the Gove District Hospital, in the NT’s East Arnhem Land.

When Gretta first saw the email from her clinical coordinator about the possibility of completing a remote placement in Gove she jumped at the opportunity. Not only did she have a good friend currently living there, she also had a strong interest in Indigenous culture and health. “What an amazing opportunity and experience it would be”, she thought.

Gretta had fond memories of her travels as a teenager by car and camper trailer with her parents through Central Australia and the Top End, inspired by her father who was an artist and art teacher with a strong interest in Indigenous art.

Flying into Gove and seeing the red dirt, brought back all those childhood memories for Gretta. “Excitement was an understatement”, she says.

At the Gove District Hospital Gretta spent two weeks on the Ward and two weeks in the Emergency Department, which included caring for babies, children, teenagers, adults and the elderly, a wide variety of illnesses and tropical diseases and interaction with Care flight and St John Ambulance personnel.

“I thoroughly enjoyed having the time to sit and speak with patients, learn about their history and their language, and build up a rapport with them, as this was so important. I also loved that I could never find my patients as they were always outside in the sun and warm air!”, she says.

Gretta also felt very privileged to be part of a powerful, moving ceremony following the passing of an Aboriginal man, an experience that she says she will never forget.

East Arnhem Land is a spectacular part of Australia with an interesting history. Having the weekends off gave Gretta the flexibility to explore her surroundings and attend events including the Garma Festival, footy matches and night markets, and visit different beaches and camping spots.

“I absolutely loved my four-week placement at Gove District Hospital. I couldn’t fault it at all. It was a very, very different pace for me coming from Melbourne. I really had to learn to slow down, which was a good thing, and one that has stayed with me, changing the way I now nurse.

“The accommodation was great as well as the support from Chloe and Margot from Flinders NT and all the hospital staff.

“It has changed the way I look at things for the better in both my nursing practices and life! I highly recommend it!”.

Posted in
Flinders NT Remote and Rural Interprofessional Placement Learning NT (RIPPL NT) Student Placements