Changing perceptions through student placements

Late last year, Federation University Nursing student, Brittany Harris, completed a three-week placement in Alice Springs, supported by Flinders NT staff at the Centre for Remote Health.

When Brittany heard about possibility of a placement in the Northern Territory during her first year of study, she contacted her placement coordinator, and the following year she jumped at the opportunity.

In the small country town in Victoria where Brittany was raised, cultural barriers weren’t an issue, people were treated equally, and exposure to Indigenous culture and health was limited. Brittany was keen to learn more and to be right among the largest Indigenous population in Australia.

Brittany felt privileged to complete her placement in the mental health team at the Alice Springs Hospital, with one week in community and two weeks in the Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT). ‘The experience was an eye opener into the health care system of the Indigenous population and their determinants of health. Even though we live in the same country, every individual has their own story and quality of life’, she says.

Over the weekends Brittany was able to explore the Finke Gorge National Park, the West MacDonnell Ranges, attend the Desert Festival and drive home to northern Victoria via Uluru. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the outback, the beautiful cultural elements and the spectacular history’, she says, and ‘flying over the Australian outback was breathtaking; all the red dirt and absolutely nothing but astonishing land as far as the eye can see’.

‘The NT is a whole different world that exists in our country, yet I had no idea that it even existed.

‘During my time in the NT I learnt to appreciate the little things in life and the things we take for granted, that others may not be fortunate enough to have.

‘I have walked away with a different perception, insight and appreciation and I’m more than grateful for the influence I made in people’s lives’.

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Centre for Remote Health (CRH) Flinders NT Remote and Rural Interprofessional Placement Learning NT (RIPPL NT) Student Placements