Assisting local clinics with education during COVID-19

During COVID-19 where travel restrictions may have limited the learning opportunities for some remote practitioners, Flinders NT educators at Nhulunbuy have been assisting local health services by providing practical education sessions.

Nursing Lecturer, Chloe Lyons and Senior Lecturer in Remote Medicine, Dr Katie Williamson visited the clinical staff at Gunyangara Clinic, part of the Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation, to help with Basic and Advanced Life Support refresher training, developing realistic simulations for the teams to troubleshoot.

As a small clinic, the Gunyangara team wanted some practice working together in case a critically unwell patient arrived at the facility. ‘We wanted to feel more prepared and confident in managing emergencies. ‘It was great to be able to run scenarios with our own staff, and practise with our own team at Gunyangara Clinic. ‘It wasn’t just the clinical skills we were practising, but also working as a team and assigning roles to each team member. ‘The way Katie and Chloe ran the sessions allowed for reflection, learning and discussion, without being intimidating or creating anxiety’, Remote General Practitioner, Dr Tanya Howley said.

The Flinders University medical and nursing students were also involved in the training session, gaining insight into the challenges facing small remote clinics. The students were able to work with the clinic staff, allocating roles and sharing tasks, and using the clinic’s own equipment they managed some basic and then complicated critical care cases. Medical student Rashmi Sirisena found the experience highly valuable to her learning. ‘I hadn’t realised what it must feel like when you’re the only doctor in such an isolated place, and someone really sick turns up. It’s great that they can practise these scenarios to keep their skills up-to-date and develop confidence in their teamwork’, she explained.

Miwatj Health provides essential Aboriginal Health services across the East Arnhem region. The clinics are staffed by rural General Practitioners and Remote Area Nurses.

Flinders NT’s Clinical Education Facility at Nhulunbuy also facilitates learning and provides support for students on clinical placement.

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