Outback love story

Rachel Wilson completed her final placement in Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, during her nursing studies at Charles Darwin University. During her placement she was supported by Flinders NT staff at the Centre for Remote Health. ‘Pene was a terrific support for all the students, the accommodation provided in Tennant Creek was lovely, and the car was a great help for all of us’, she said. Rachel has now been successful in securing a New Graduate position in the NT and reflects on her Tennant Creek placement.

Read about Rachel’s experience below as published in the winter / dry season 2020 edition of the CRANAplus Magazine.

Outback love story

Rachel Wilson describes her final placement at Tennant Creek Hospital on the road to becoming a RAN.

As an Enrolled Nurse living in Newcastle, New South Wales, I always had a dream to become a Remote Area Nurse (RAN). To achieve this, I had to first become a Registered Nurse and broaden my scope of practice quite extensively. My four- week Remote Community Health placement at Tennant Creek Hospital (TCH) was my final placement for my Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Darwin University.

It didn’t take too long to become acclimatised to the extreme heat wave Territorians were
experiencing when I arrived. One day I got in the car provided by the Centre For Remote Health and it said it was 49 degrees Celsius outside!
I did not need convincing!

Ruby Frank and Rachel Wilson

I was fortunate (and privileged) to spend the first two weeks of my placement in the Tennant Creek Renal Dialysis Unit. Every patient I cared for was my favourite. Ruby, who is pictured, gave her permission to share her photo and talk a little bit about her life. Ruby translates English to Warumungu for CAAMA Radio, so listeners have their favourite programs in language. After Ruby had a kidney transplant in Adelaide 23 years ago, she was instrumental in lobbying NT Health for Renal Dialysis Units in Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. Ruby’s beautiful face reflects her beautiful heart.

The nurses at the TCH Dialysis Unit are a very special group of people. They were all happy to share their knowledge with me and they always had a smile on their face. I learned so much in two weeks and discovered I have a real passion for dialysis nursing, one which I will pursue after graduation.

I have a special thank you to Ces, my preceptor in the Dialysis Unit. Ces is a wonderful nurse who is very patient and very skilled in dialysis nursing. She is very kind to every one of her patients.

There is mutual respect and she has a deep affection for her Warumungu, Warlpiri, Alyawarr, and Kayetetye clients, as well as clients from other surrounding language groups and towns.

After two weeks I moved on to the Midwifery Group Practice for a week. Another very interesting placement. I was learning all about antenatal care and assisting in the assessments of women who were having their first antenatal care assessment. This tends to be the longest appointment because it includes vital screening tests and referrals to ensure the health of the mother and the baby. I loved measuring the fundal height and palpating to identify the position of the baby. It was always very exciting when the baby gave me a little kick to say G’day!

My final week was in the GP Clinic. Here I was doing basic health checks; wound assessments and dressings; venipuncture; and anything you would do in a remote GP Clinic to take care of your patient.

My four weeks went too quickly; however, I am thrilled to announce I was successful in gaining a New Graduate RN position in the NT which I had applied for last July!

A big thank you to CRANAplus for a scholarship that helped to make this placement possible. They have been very instrumental in cultivating my outback love story!

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