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An experience to cherish
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.