Student Katarina Samotna - Multiple positive experiences

9 Dec 2016

Indige­nous health has always been a pas­sion for Kata­ri­na Samot­na, a 3rd Year Bach­e­lor of Nurs­ing stu­dent at Charles Dar­win Uni­ver­si­ty. Her recent place­ment in the remote Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties of Haasts Bluff and Titjikala in the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry and at Alice Springs Hos­pi­tal (ASH) has cement­ed her com­mit­ment.

This four-month place­ment entire­ly exceed­ed my expectations. 

The remote area nurs­es at Haasts Bluff and Titjikala, who pro­vide pri­ma­ry health care and pri­ma­ry clin­i­cal care for approx­i­mate­ly 200 com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, are high­ly edu­cat­ed and expe­ri­enced nurs­es with out­stand­ing clin­i­cal skills. Dur­ing my place­ment, I felt very sup­port­ed and com­fort­able, and gained a lot of under­stand­ing and knowl­edge from these nurses.

I learned and prac­ticed a vari­ety of skills, such as health assess­ments, run­ning patient con­sul­ta­tions, pre­scrib­ing and dis­pens­ing med­ica­tion, admin­is­ter­ing vac­ci­na­tions, sutur­ing, organ­is­ing med­ical evac­u­a­tions and retrievals, per­form­ing child health assess­ments and ante­na­tal exam­i­na­tions, and chron­ic dis­ease man­age­ment. All these expe­ri­ences and the pro­fes­sion­al ben­e­fits of work­ing in remote areas, such as greater auton­o­my and respon­si­bil­i­ty, sparked my desire to become a Remote Area Nurse.

I gained mul­ti­ple pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences from this place­ment, which have influ­enced my prac­tice. For exam­ple, I devel­oped excel­lent cross-cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills when deal­ing with Indige­nous clients. This is a valu­able asset to my future prac­tice as I am plan­ning to work in remote Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties after my graduation.

My skills in assess­ing the patients’ health have also sig­nif­i­cant­ly improved, as I devel­oped con­fi­dence in res­pi­ra­to­ry assess­ment, aus­cul­ta­tion, and eye and ear exam­i­na­tion. I had sev­er­al oppor­tu­ni­ties to run patient con­sul­ta­tions, becom­ing more sys­tem­at­ic when obtain­ing patients’ med­ical his­to­ry and record­ing it in the progress notes. Also, I learned how to assess the patients’ symp­toms effec­tive­ly and iden­ti­fy their diag­no­sis, includ­ing the most suit­able med­ica­tion required. Hence my knowl­edge of phar­ma­col­o­gy sig­nif­i­cant­ly improved.

At ASH, I worked close­ly with Abo­rig­i­nal health prac­ti­tion­ers to devel­op cul­tur­al com­pe­tence when deal­ing with Indige­nous clients. I joined the Alco­hol and Oth­er Drugs team, expe­ri­enced retrieval med­i­cine with the Roy­al Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice, and par­tic­i­pat­ed in health pro­mo­tion and edu­ca­tion pro­grams for Indige­nous youth in remote com­mu­ni­ties. For exam­ple, in Haasts Bluff, the ini­tial inter­est in the com­mu­ni­ty ser­vices is to take Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren and youth for a trip into a bush, and so pre­vent them from bore­dom. Also, this activ­i­ty might increase their desire to be phys­i­cal­ly active, which might pre­vent them from devel­op­ing chron­ic con­di­tions, such as obe­si­ty, hyper­ten­sion, and dia­betes. Fur­ther­more, spend­ing all day out­side, in the bush, empha­sis­es Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture and their spir­i­tu­al con­nec­tion with the land and nature.

I also realised that engage­ment with the com­mu­ni­ty is the most effi­cient strat­e­gy deal­ing with iso­la­tion, when work­ing in very remote set­tings. I am now con­fi­dent that these expe­ri­ences have pro­vid­ed me with the knowl­edge and skills required to work with Indige­nous peo­ple in remote and rur­al set­tings as a well-round­ed and qual­i­fied Reg­is­tered Nurse.

I would like to sin­cere­ly thank CRANAplus for sup­port­ing me with the costs of under­tak­ing this won­der­ful clin­i­cal place­ment experience.