Prepared for the challenges
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.”