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2022 Gayle Woodford Scholarship recipient Emily Evans

7 Dec 2022

Registered Nurse Emily Evans describes winning this year’s Gayle Woodford Memorial Scholarship as a great honour and a career game changer.

When she got the let­ter of con­grat­u­la­tions in the mid­dle of this year, Emi­ly lost no time in start­ing the Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Remote Health Prac­tice through Flinders University.

Win­ning this award is a great hon­our and will no doubt enhance my knowl­edge of remote health,” she says.

Emi­ly, who grew up on a sheep sta­tion on the edge of the Nullar­bor, grad­u­at­ed as a nurse in 2009 and has worked in psy­chi­atric nurs­ing, in emer­gency ser­vices on mine sites, on Christ­mas Island and in oth­er small hos­pi­tals in rur­al Australia.

I’ve always want­ed to go remote,” says Emi­ly, who did a stint in War­mun com­mu­ni­ty ear­li­er in the year.

As some­one new to remote nurs­ing, I was very much sup­port­ed in War­mun, thanks espe­cial­ly to Dr. Cather­ine, Tony (clin­ic man­ag­er) and the love­ly staff at KPHU Broome for mak­ing my tran­si­tion so rewarding. 

Being 200 kilo­me­tres from the near­est hos­pi­tal in Kununur­ra, I realised just how iso­lat­ed these com­mu­ni­ties are.” Emi­ly says she always knew she want­ed to work in a pro­fes­sion that was more giv­ing than tak­ing” and con­sid­ered Médecins sans Fron­tières (Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders), before recog­nis­ing there was a lot of work to be done with­in Australia. 

As well as her nurs­ing degree, Emi­ly has com­plet­ed a grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate in crit­i­cal care, the Mater­ni­ty Emer­gency Course (MEC) with CRANAplus, Trau­ma Nurs­ing Core Com­pe­ten­cy, Phar­ma­cother­a­pies, and the SA Immu­ni­sa­tion course. This year she was also nom­i­nat­ed for the Kimberley’s Lead­er­ship award for her sup­port to nurs­ing students. 

Emi­ly is cur­rent­ly in Der­by in West­ern Aus­tralia, pop­u­la­tion 4,500 – which blows out at dif­fer­ent times, with the tourist season. 

This is a good step­ping stone,” says Emi­ly. In the emer­gency depart­ment, you see the same issues as in a more remote clin­ic, the same dis­eases, but of course with more resources and addi­tion­al staff. I high­ly rec­om­mend any nurs­es con­tem­plat­ing work­ing as a RAN, first come and work at a place like Der­by to con­sol­i­date skills. Der­by is very cul­tur­al­ly aware and see­ing the sit­u­a­tion here has made me realise how under­val­ued that aware­ness is, and the dif­fer­ence it can make to health outcomes.” 

Emi­ly con­sid­ers the ben­e­fits of the casu­al and agency work she has been doing. 

I believe I’ve learned a lot with this, being exposed to dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions. A well-round­ed expe­ri­ence,” she says. Work­ing with peo­ple who are dis­ad­van­taged is def­i­nite­ly my passion.

Ulti­mate­ly, I’d like to work in a com­mu­ni­ty on a per­ma­nent basis, in order to build up that kind of rap­port, trust and under­stand­ing essen­tial for effec­tive ther­a­peu­tic rela­tion­ships. I think it’s impor­tant that peo­ple are invest­ed in the community.” 

After com­plet­ing one of the units, Emi­ly says she is already gain­ing a greater under­stand­ing of the holis­tic approach in com­mu­ni­ties, along with the impor­tance of healthy literacy.

It has def­i­nite­ly made me think a lot deep­er about all the issues around health in remote areas, par­tic­u­lar­ly among Indige­nous pop­u­la­tions,” she says.

Thank you to every­one involved in the Gayle Wood­ford Memo­r­i­al Schol­ar­ship. It’s a huge step for­ward for me to fol­low my passion.”

For more infor­ma­tion on the grants and schol­ar­ships avail­able through CRANAplus, vis­it Awards, Schol­ar­ships & Grants.