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A priceless experience
Mental health nursing student Gabrielle Wilton recently travelled to Nhulunbuy and Groote Eylandt in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory
for her remote placement experience. Here’s her story.
I caught my first small plane ever, when I flew with five other passengers from Nhulunbuy to Groote Eylandt to begin my placement. The scenery was unbelievable and the plane was shaky, so much fun nonetheless!
I spent my first week there with a remote mental health nurse, providing outreach mental health services to several Aboriginal communities across Groote Eylandt.
Throughout the week I spent some time doing consultations with clients in the community clinics.
However most of the experience involved visiting clients in the community. I was lucky enough to meet people with the most diverse backgrounds and life experiences which was extremely humbling.
Being my first remote experience, I initially experienced some culture shock, however the more exposure and knowledge I gained over the first few days, the more I was able to understand that each individual has a unique story to tell which often influences their current circumstances.
It felt empowering to be able to assist people in these Aboriginal communities and be the listening ear that some needed.
On the final day of week one, we travelled to a much smaller remote Aboriginal community known as Numbulwar. I was able to spend the day working alongside the social worker, which opened my eyes to the way the multi- disciplinary team work together within the community to meet the needs of individuals from a social and emotional perspective.
I have to mention the flight to Numbulwar. Our pilot, Dylan offered me the seat next to him as pilot passenger.
The view from the front was amazing and an unforgettable experience that I would never have had without this placement offer.
I spent my final week of placement in Nhulunbuy/Gove Peninsula at Miwatj Aboriginal Health Corporation.
I worked alongside another mental health nurse and carried out similar tasks to those in the first week. We consulted with community members with acute and chronic mental health concerns.
It was a cultural tour throughout the week – I visited the incredible Yirrkala Art Centre, Garma where the famous Garma Festival is traditionally held, and learned about the local community and culture and the history of the Yolngu people.
Overall, my experience from a mental health and a remote Aboriginal community perspective was priceless. I have learned so much about Indigenous culture that I will carry with me throughout my entire career.
This CRANAplus Undergraduate Remote Placement Scholarship was sponsored by HutSix software and web development.