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2022 Gayle Woodford Scholarship recipient Emily Evans
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.