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Wel­come to CRANAcast, the remote health pod­cast pro­duced by CRANAplus.

This pod­cast is all about telling the sto­ries of the remote health work­force. Every episode, a nurse, mid­wife, or health pro­fes­sion­al comes onto the show to share their expe­ri­ences of work­ing in rur­al and remote Australia.

CRANAcast is designed for you to lis­ten to on the plane, in the car between clin­ics, or dur­ing your down­time. Down­load it on Apple Pod­casts, Spo­ti­fy or your favourite pod­cast app so you can tune in even when you’re out of range.

Lis­ten on Spo­ti­fy | Lis­ten on Apple Pod­casts | Lis­ten on Google Podcasts

More episodes com­ing soon.

Lyn Byers has ded­i­cat­ed 24 years to serv­ing some of Australia’s most iso­lat­ed desert com­mu­ni­ties. As a reg­is­tered nurse prac­ti­tion­er, mid­wife, and recip­i­ent of the 2022 Auro­ra Award for Remote Health Pro­fes­sion­al of the Year, Lyn shares why she remains com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the under­served com­mu­ni­ties of the APY Lands. Lis­ten in to dis­cov­er a day in her life at Nganam­pa Health Coun­cil where she works right across the sphere” from babies to the elder­ly, from acute inter­ven­tions to proac­tive health strate­gies. Hear the logis­ti­cal chal­lenges of being on-call in remote set­tings and gain pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment guid­ance tai­lored to aspir­ing pri­ma­ry health practitioners. 

A career in nurs­ing can offer flex­i­bil­i­ty and diver­si­ty. In this episode, we meet RN Kar­lene from West­ern Aus­tralia, who cur­rent­ly resides in a tree­house home” in Zam­bia, where she uses her nurs­ing skills to train rangers in CPR and assess orphaned ele­phants. Here, she shares how she jug­gles her com­pet­ing pas­sions of con­ser­va­tion and remote nurs­ing; how she main­tains her con­fi­dence and com­pe­tence when step­ping in and out of the pro­fes­sion; reflec­tions from the remote Mon­go­lian wilder­ness – a two-day rein­deer ride from any road; and the reward of help­ing peo­ple to help them­selves, across the globe. 

It was a phone call Amanda’s dad made to the Gee­long Hos­pi­tal 38 years ago that would kick­start her wide-span­ning career in nurs­ing and mid­wifery – and even­tu­al­ly lead to her cur­rent focus: address­ing health dis­par­i­ty through edu­ca­tion. Aman­da For­ti, who over­sees CRANAplus’ edu­ca­tion mater­ni­ty stream along­side Leonie McLaugh­lin, shares her career jour­ney to mid­wifery edu­ca­tion; advice for new­com­ers with reflec­tions from the 2023 CRANAplus Con­fer­ence; and breaks down CRANAplus mater­ni­ty cours­es – who they are for, and what par­tic­i­pants can expect to walk away with. 

Meet for­mer accoun­tant Leigh Moore, whose long-term inter­est in nurs­ing and tenac­i­ty to make a dif­fer­ence has helped her over­come doubt she faced chang­ing careers lat­er in life. Here, Leigh dis­cuss­es small acts that can improve the lives of old­er Aus­tralians; two-way com­mu­ni­ty sup­port; and the diverse oppor­tu­ni­ties in R&R com­mu­ni­ties for bud­ding RANs. 

In our 20th episode of CRANAcast, we hear from enrolled nurse Diana Cir­cona about her jour­ney from metro to region­al, rur­al and now remote health prac­tice. Cur­rent­ly employed as a psy­choso­cial men­tal health coor­di­na­tor on the bor­ders of WA, SA and the NT, Diane kind­ly shares the chal­lenges she’s over­come, and tips and encour­age­ment for ENs inter­est­ed in expand­ing their scope of prac­tice in rur­al and remote Australia. 

After some time spent as a Clin­i­cal Nurse Man­ag­er in the Gas­coyne region of WA, Ani­ta Tamow­icz has recent­ly come back to nurs­ing: a career she adores though nev­er pic­tured her­self pur­su­ing. In this episode, Ani­ta shares her uncon­ven­tion­al jour­ney into remote health via an Anthro­pol­o­gy the­sis; why lis­ten­ing to and build­ing rap­port with each patient is crit­i­cal in achiev­ing pos­i­tive health out­comes; and her love of small com­mu­ni­ty cama­raderie and learn­ing to love the sim­ple things”.

Over the last 12 years, Kep­pel has sup­port­ed hun­dreds of remote health pro­fes­sion­als gain con­fi­dence in their mater­ni­ty skills as a CRANAplus course facil­i­ta­tor. Kep­pel is a coun­try boy at heart” who has basked in the glow of many a Jabiru sun­set, and although oth­er com­mit­ments have him tem­porar­i­ly side-lined from remote health prac­tice, vol­un­teer­ing as a facil­i­ta­tor has enabled him to stay engaged in the sec­tor. Here he dis­cuss­es cross­ing the divide” to become an edu­ca­tor, heli­copter retrievals in loca­tions with­out run­ways, and work­ing near out­back hol­i­day destinations.

Sheryl Alexan­der RN RM immers­es us in her jour­ney from psy­chi­atric nurs­ing in Tas­ma­nia to out­reach mid­wifery in the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry. Through­out her career she’s found her­self falling into fan­tas­tic jobs and lov­ing them” and has learned to pro­vide the ser­vice [clients] want, not the ser­vice I think they should have.” Here, she talks about mid­wifery group prac­tice, par­tic­i­pat­ing in cul­tur­al events via invi­ta­tion, and mak­ing ante- and post-natal edu­ca­tion fun (think tie-dye sin­glets and exot­ic fruit).

Clin­i­cal Mid­wifery Man­ag­er Glen­da Glee­son, who works in Cen­tral Aus­tralia, encour­ages any­one think­ing about tran­si­tion­ing to remote health to step out and give it a go” with the right prepa­ra­tion. Glen­da recalls her own ful­fill­ing jour­ney from RN to remote mid­wifery and shares what it is like to be part of the pas­sion­ate Mater­nal and Women’s Health team pro­vid­ing health pro­mo­tion and care to remote com­mu­ni­ties across Cen­tral Aus­tralia. Through Glenda’s sto­ries, you’ll hear mem­o­ries of trav­el­ling across the amaz­ing coun­try­side, grat­i­tude for gain­ing insight into Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture, along with her top tips on how to pre­pare for going remote.

An out­side the box” approach is need­ed to fill the gaps in our cur­rent health­care sys­tem, says Di Thorn­ton RN and endorsed NP. With almost fifty years of nurs­ing expe­ri­ence up her sleeve, Di shares her pas­sion­ate views on the val­ue of nurse prac­ti­tion­ers and takes us into her world of own­ing and oper­at­ing a health clin­ic in Pin­na­roo, in the Mur­ray Mallee region of SA.

Lor­raine Woods, Far North Queens­land Mid­wife and recip­i­ent of the 2022 Ray Wyeth Ear­ly to Remote Prac­tice Award shares her pas­sion for remote health and some advice for enter­ing a field of life­long learn­ing”. In this episode, she deep dives into the role of a clin­i­cal­ly endorsed mid­wife; what it’s like in Weipa; the launch of the Weipa Birthing Project; and some tips and encour­age­ment for those con­sid­er­ing a remote mid­wifery career. 

Deep with­in the Cairns Hin­ter­land, Wendy responds to emer­gen­cies, man­ages and pre­scribes med­ica­tions for chron­ic ill­ness, and assists com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to nav­i­gate the health­care sys­tem. In this wide-rang­ing episode, she recalls the days of starched white uni­forms and red capes when nurs­es smoked by the bed­side; work­ing with a diverse per­ma­nent and itin­er­ant client base; the calm­ing prop­er­ties of land­scapes that are green every­where”; and the antics of the world’s biggest lace monitor.

Seek­ing a new chal­lenge and a career change after 20 years of emer­gency care, Lor­raine Har­ry shares her expe­ri­ence of tran­si­tion­ing to remote health, and why she fell in love with it. In this episode, Lor­raine reflects on her career and the past five years as Qual­i­ty & Safe­ty Offi­cer at Mala’la Abo­rig­i­nal Health Ser­vice, Man­ingri­da in the heart of Arn­hem Land. Lis­ten in to hear some of the ways her com­mu­ni­ty are work­ing togeth­er to address chal­lenges and improve health out­comes in the region; impor­tant skills and attrib­ut­es of being a Clin­i­cal Edu­ca­tor; the best parts of Lorraine’s role; and a heart­felt moment from her first remote health expe­ri­ence, that she says she’ll nev­er forget.

Arrernte woman and RN with 26 years of expe­ri­ence, Kel­lie Kerin shares her jour­ney to her present role with AMSANT, from her grad year in Gee­long Hos­pi­tal to bush nurs­ing in com­mu­ni­ties, opal min­ing towns and out­back sta­tions. Also in this episode, Kel­lie talks reunit­ing with her her­itage, lessons in cook­ing bar­ra­mun­di, how changes in Gov­ern­ment could open new doors, the need for truth-telling and lan­guage in edu­ca­tion, the val­ue of clin­i­cal super­vi­sion, and a vision she had as a stu­dent — which lat­er came real.

In episode 10 we hear from Tess, last year’s Auro­ra Award win­ner, nurse prac­ti­tion­er and chron­ic dis­ease coor­di­na­tor in the Aṉan­gu Pit­jan­t­jat­jara Yankun­yt­jat­jara (APY) lands – 100,000 square kilo­me­tres tucked in the north­west cor­ner of South Aus­tralia. Despite being ready to retire years ago” Tess says remote nurs­ing can be hard to let go of. Lis­ten in to hear sto­ries from Tess’s cur­rent role; how social deter­mi­nants of health are impact­ing remote com­mu­ni­ties; and what putting on her robe” means and how it has helped her pro­fes­sion­al­ly and personally.

Fix­at­ed from a young age on help­ing peo­ple, in this episode, we meet Theona who kicked off her nurs­ing career in Rock­hamp­ton; now a lead­ing Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er at the Cairns Hos­pi­tal, and a mem­ber of Aus­tralian Med­ical Assis­tance Teams (AUS­MAT) Theona is deployed at short notice to pro­vide sup­port to inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ties fac­ing human­i­tar­i­an crises. Theona dis­cuss­es where her pas­sion for help­ing came from, what it means to be a Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er, and play­ing a small part in the jig­saw” through part­ner­ship, capac­i­ty build­ing and assis­tance, in her work at AUSMAT.

A remote area nurse with a love of all things skin, Sheena com­menced her remote health jour­ney with a rocky start. I rolled my car avoid­ing hit­ting an eagle… [Then] rocked up to the hos­pi­tal in white brace over­alls cov­ered in pin­dan and straw, and knocked on the door and proud­ly announced that I was their new nurse!” Inspired by a case of squa­mous cell car­ci­no­ma that fell through the cracks, Sheena com­plet­ed her Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate of Med­i­cine while work­ing full time. She now pro­vides skin checks and has wres­tled peo­ple down in trains” to check out ques­tion­able spots. She also dis­cuss­es how she’s achiev­ing a high lev­el of male engage­ment, cul­tur­al learn­ings, and the art of bodg­ing” in resource-light settings.

Stu­dent nurs­es from West­ern Aus­tralia and mem­bers of WAAL­HI­IBE (West­ern Aus­tralian Allied Health Inter­est­ed in Bush Expe­ri­ence), Kate, Mekay­la and Jas­mine, dis­cuss their clin­i­cal place­ments and first impres­sions of remote nurs­ing. Hear from them on work­ing towns with 10 res­i­dents, pick­ing a hos­pi­tal I’d nev­er heard of before”, approach­ing remote nurs­ing as a city kid”, using the hos­pi­tal land­line to con­tact fam­i­ly, the under­ap­pre­ci­at­ed skill of bed mak­ing, com­mu­ni­ty inte­gra­tion (e.g., coach­ing swim­ming, har­vest­ing), and how place­ments can make you feel con­fi­dent, not scared”.

Lead Clin­i­cal Coor­di­na­tor at RAHC, Jen­nine Laven­der, has been work­ing rur­al since the 80s. Ini­tial­ly, she planned on stay­ing in Nar­ro­gin for 6 months, but after falling in love with a local farmer, she end­ed up work­ing in the same hos­pi­tal for the next 30 years. In 2011, a midlife cri­sis” inspired her to take up a job on Christ­mas Island, kick­start­ing her jour­ney into tru­ly remote areas. Now for RAHC, she helps peo­ple to make the mind shift” from acute care to the busi­ness of help­ing peo­ple find their way to good health”. She also talks about how see­ing peo­ple at their most vul­ner­a­ble can devel­op or threat­en a nurse’s resilience, and what she learned while fish­ing with a vis­it­ing specialist.

A cat­tle sta­tion cook in her youth, Yuwaalaraay woman Dal­las McK­e­own fol­lowed in her moth­er’s foot­steps to become an EN — a move that would even­tu­al­ly lead to her cur­rent posi­tion as CRANAplus’ Exec. Direc­tor of First Peo­ples Strate­gies. In this episode, she dis­cuss­es how her expe­ri­ences have pro­vid­ed moti­va­tion along the way. Observ­ing acute ill­ness at RDH, she decid­ed to ven­ture into the world of pri­ma­ry health care and health pro­mo­tion — where she cam­paigned on pneu­mo­coc­cal, influen­za and smok­ing, expe­ri­enced overt racism, and learned that some­times there’s nobody else but you to pick up what­ev­er comes through the door”.

In a small east East Pil­bara com­mu­ni­ty, eight metres of flood water laps at the clin­ic dri­ve­way. The phone starts ring­ing. At a near­by gold­mine, across the flood­wa­ters, a 50-year-old man is unre­spon­sive. You have to do what you can with what you’ve got,” RN and Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er Chris’ recalls in this wide-rang­ing episode, which also fea­tures: send­ing an injured Joey to the vet via school bus, pack­ing a knife sharp­en­er, swim­ming with man­ta rays, how a busy work envi­ron­ment makes cru­el­ty too easy, and the rela­tion­ship-build­ing ben­e­fits of baking.

RNs Rachel and Gaby dis­cuss their clin­i­cal place­ments in Groote Eylandt/​Gove & Ten­nant Creek. Rachel always had this long­ing” to be a remote nurse and has since moved her fam­i­ly from New­cas­tle to Kather­ine; where­as an acci­den­tal oppor­tu­ni­ty led Gaby to wit­ness the need for sup­port where there’s not enough peo­ple doing it”. The duo illu­mi­nate what it’s like to fall in love with patients, sto­ries, cul­ture, every­thing” and explore the unusu­al work­ing con­di­tions of giv­ing depot injec­tions with a lit­ter of pup­pies at your feet”. Plus, they give their tips on the best mobile net­works, pack­ing favourite foods, and nev­er under­es­ti­mat­ing distances.

RAN Shel­ley talks about her six years of remote prac­tice to date, since leav­ing the urban ICU/​emergency rat race. She talks about learn­ing to suture and plas­ter cast, sup­port­ing a man return­ing from jail to regain his place in com­mu­ni­ty, the val­ue of liv­ing with her part­ner, and becom­ing a vault” of local com­mu­ni­ty knowl­edge. She also touch­es on see­ing peo­ple from the clin­ic out­side of work, the work­load call­ing for 2 or 3 of me”, and going with­out TV for sev­er­al weeks when the TV breaks down.

A nurse for over 37 years, Sue was among the first group of remote area nurs­es to receive uni­ver­si­ty-based train­ing. In our first episode of CRANAcast, she reflects on work­ing remote while bring­ing up her baby; that one time the food truck deliv­ered quail; cut­ting her own hair; and becom­ing so lais­sez-faire about every­thing, when you final­ly come to town, it’s a total­ly dif­fer­ent pace and exis­tence.” She also shares her thoughts on con­tin­u­ous upskilling, adjust­ing your expec­ta­tions, and the impact of tragedy in tight-knit communities.