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In love with Alice

4 Jul 2017

After completing a student placement in Central Australia, Registered Nurse Melissa Godden has returned to the Northern Territory to undertake a Graduate Nurse Program at Alice Springs Hospital. She discusses the experience of going to Alice Springs for the first time and now returning to work in the town she fell in love with.

After work­ing in Ade­laide as a car­er for a num­ber of years, Melis­sa recog­nised the need to go fur­ther in her career. She felt that she had exhaust­ed the chal­lenges as a car­er and while she was pas­sion­ate about work­ing with peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, she want­ed to expe­ri­ence some­thing more’. 

In her final year of her nurs­ing degree at Flinders Uni­ver­si­ty, Melis­sa got the oppor­tu­ni­ty to expe­ri­ence that some­thing more’ when she received an email invit­ing expres­sions of inter­est from stu­dents wish­ing to under­take an eight-week place­ment in Alice Springs. She felt ready for the next chal­lenge and sub­mit­ted an application. 

I was brought up in a small com­mu­ni­ty before mov­ing to Ade­laide and I think this helped in my instant love of Alice Springs,” she says. Over the two months that I was here as a stu­dent, I got swept up with all that Alice Springs has to offer. I was fas­ci­nat­ed by the dif­fer­ence of cul­ture and com­mu­ni­ty in Alice Springs com­pared to Ade­laide. It felt like home. The locals, both Indige­nous and non-Indige­nous were very friend­ly. It was not the same as a big city – every­one was so welcoming. 

I real­ly enjoyed my place­ment at the Alice Springs Hos­pi­tal which pro­vid­ed me with some valu­able learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. I would get up in the morn­ing excit­ed to go to work.” 

As well as full-time place­ment shifts, Melis­sa was able to join a local net­ball team, tour local areas of inter­est such as Ulu­ru and the Mac­Don­nell Ranges, vis­it the mar­kets every week­end and meet oth­er stu­dents on place­ment as well as locals. She also got the oppor­tu­ni­ty to spend two weeks in the remote com­mu­ni­ty of Yuelemu. 

Yuele­mu was a fan­tas­tic learn­ing expe­ri­ence that is def­i­nite­ly not avail­able in a text book,” she says. I got the oppor­tu­ni­ty to prac­tice my acute nurs­ing skills and also to man­age chron­ic con­di­tions and under­take health pro­mo­tion activ­i­ties. It was great liv­ing and work­ing in the com­mu­ni­ty. I had the unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to see both acute and pri­ma­ry care and to gain a holis­tic under­stand­ing of the health jour­ney of my clients. When I got back to Ade­laide I saw the world in a dif­fer­ent way.” 

But it was the lifestyle that made Melis­sa return to Alice Springs fol­low­ing grad­u­a­tion, and last month she com­menced her grad­u­ate pro­gram with Alice Springs Hospital. 

Alice Springs was my first choice for a grad­u­ate pro­gram and I was very excit­ed when I was noti­fied that I had been suc­cess­ful,” she says. Now that I am here it’s every­thing I had hoped. The staff is incred­i­bly sup­port­ive and I have made some great friends in the grad­u­ate group. My aim is to com­plete my Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Crit­i­cal Care after fin­ish­ing my Grad­u­ate pro­gram and there is a lot of sup­port here for me to do that. I have nev­er been so hap­py and I don’t real­ly see myself going back to Ade­laide. The world is my oys­ter again.” 

For infor­ma­tion on Nurs­ing and Allied health place­ments in Cen­tral Aus­tralia please con­tact the Cen­tre for Remote Health crh.​placements@​flinders.​edu.​au