Prepared for the challenges

4 Jul 2017

A nurs­ing back­ground in trau­ma man­age­ment, and work­ing for 16 years in a remote hos­pi­tal in his home land, Zim­bab­we, pre­pared Free­dom Zulu well for the chal­lenges of work­ing in Porm­pu­raaw Pri­ma­ry Health­care Cen­tre on the west­ern side of Cape York Peninsula.

I have had a colour­ful and stim­u­lat­ing career up here which oth­er nurs­es prob­a­bly could only dream of,” he says. 

The clin­ic has a steady flow of out­pa­tients. But the sit­u­a­tion can change dra­mat­i­cal­ly with­in a blink of an eye and I have man­aged many a life-threat­en­ing, trau­ma-relat­ed emer­gency that has arisen suddenly. 

Here in Porm­pu­raaw, I have expe­ri­enced extreme sit­u­a­tions in nurs­ing care which have test­ed my psy­cho­log­i­cal strength to the lim­it. But due to my past expe­ri­ence, I was able to over­come and cope with the stress­es and the emo­tion­al impact of the sit­u­a­tions I have faced.” 

Now in his fourth year at Porm­pu­raaw, Free­dom says he has blend­ed well into the com­mu­ni­ty. I have cre­at­ed an insep­a­ra­ble rap­port with local res­i­dents who trust me and now con­sid­er me part of the com­mu­ni­ty of Porm­pu­raaw,” he says. 

Free­dom, who has qual­i­fi­ca­tions in mid­wifery and anaes­thet­ics, ini­tial­ly respond­ed to Aus­trali­a’s call for expe­ri­enced nurs­es dur­ing a peri­od of high demand in 2007. After a cou­ple of years in Cairns, Freedom’s desire for stim­u­la­tion prompt­ed him to explore oppor­tu­ni­ties in remote nurs­ing work. 

His past expe­ri­ence a major advan­tage, Free­dom was appoint­ed a clin­i­cal nurse at Porm­pu­raaw and he says that he con­tin­ues to enjoy his time in Porm­pu­raaw, thanks to the sup­port he receives from man­age­ment, his fel­low col­leagues and the com­mu­ni­ty at large. 

Free­dom likes the work­ing envi­ron­ment which allows him to engage with patients dai­ly in the com­mu­ni­ty, doing fol­low up vis­its includ­ing insulin and med­ica­tion administration. 

My per­son­al achieve­ments include com­ple­tion of X‑ray and trau­ma cours­es,” he says. I find these cours­es use­ful in my remote set­ting as they have equipped me with the extra skills required in the exe­cu­tion of my day-to-day duties. 

As part of my port­fo­lio, I also man­age sex­u­al health screen­ing. The most chal­leng­ing part of this is to con­trol the scourge of sex­u­al­ly trans­mit­table dis­eases. As a clin­i­cal team, we try very hard to edu­cate and screen the com­mu­ni­ty to reduce rates of trans­mis­sion despite the chal­lenges posed by the vicious cycle of re-infection.” 

Porm­pu­raaw is the epit­o­me of beau­ty on west­ern Cape York, says Free­dom, with paved roads, beau­ti­ful beach­es and fish­ing spots avail­able all year round. 

After hours, I enjoy recre­ation­al activ­i­ties and like going to the sports club, where I like play­ing pool. 

Porm­pu­raaw has become my home away from home.”