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An experience to cherish

1 Dec 2020

Occupational therapy student Elyse Krsanac at Curtin University says her placement at Alice Springs Hospital earlier this year “was easily the most rewarding experience of my life so far”.

The place­ment allowed me to grow per­son­al­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly in ways that I nev­er expect­ed. Work­ing at the hos­pi­tal was both chal­leng­ing and ful­fill­ing as was able to learn my strengths and weak­ness­es in an envi­ron­ment so dif­fer­ent to that of a met­ro­pol­i­tan hospital.

The most valu­able aspect for me was the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work close­ly with Abo­rig­i­nal patients and their fam­i­lies. I learned more about their cul­ture and dis­cov­ered new ways to adapt my prac­tices to bet­ter accom­mo­date their needs in a hos­pi­tal set­ting that doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly work to their strengths.

It was very hum­bling to work on my com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills with cul­tur­al­ly diverse peo­ple who I would not have had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage with in oth­er set­tings back home in Perth. Build­ing rap­port and form­ing rela­tion­ships with patients was extra spe­cial and reward­ing and I am so grate­ful that I was giv­en the chance to devel­op my clin­i­cal skills beyond my com­fort zone. 

The hos­pi­tal itself was great and allowed me to see how occu­pa­tion­al ther­a­pists work in dif­fer­ent areas such as the sur­gi­cal ward, hand ther­a­py, home vis­it­ing, the renal unit and reha­bil­i­ta­tion. It was great to see a bit of every­thing and work with pas­sion­ate and high­ly skilled OTs who have a wealth of knowl­edge and experience.

My super­vi­sors at the hos­pi­tal were fan­tas­tic and were kind enough to pick me up from the air­port and take me to my accom­mo­da­tion upon arrival in Alice. So, from the very start, I felt sup­port­ed and could appre­ci­ate what work­ing with a close-knit team would be like.

The Cen­tre for Remote Health (CRH) pro­vid­ed the unit where I stayed with two oth­er nurs­ing stu­dents from South Aus­tralia. Our place was cosy and had every­thing we need­ed to live com­fort­ably dur­ing our stay. I real­ly liked that I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet oth­er stu­dents and make friends with those from oth­er health pro­fes­sions in my accom­mo­da­tion and dur­ing stu­dent pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment ses­sions organ­ised by the CRH

On the week­ends we had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to real­ly expe­ri­ence the beau­ty of Alice and explore the breath­tak­ing gorges. There is real­ly noth­ing else like the feel­ing of float­ing in a water­hole in the mid­dle of the desert with noth­ing but the sound of flies sur­round­ing you. It was so incred­i­bly peace­ful. Quiz night at Monte’s lounge every Thurs­day night was anoth­er high­light, the per­fect place for a piz­za and a laugh.

I couldn’t rec­om­mend a remote place­ment high­ly enough, espe­cial­ly in Alice. Both the lifestyle around town and the clin­i­cal work was incred­i­ble. This is an expe­ri­ence that I will cher­ish for life and has pro­vid­ed me with a unique set of skills that will be very valu­able in my future practice.