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Student story: earning independence
University of Notre Dame nursing student Jennifer Kuppens discusses how her placement in Kununurra District Hospital improved her time-management skills, confidence and ability to prioritise patients, by exposing her to a wide range of presentations including MVAs, domestic violence and alcohol and drug use.
My placement at the Kununurra District Hospital has been such an amazing experience. I have learnt so much and met such gorgeous people along the way.
I was placed in the emergency department where I was able to practise my critical care nursing skills and expand my knowledge and skills by observing and learning from my registered nurse preceptors. I have always had an interest in remote area nursing, as I am not from the city myself. This placement has reinforced my desire to work in remote areas around Australia.
Given this was my first remote, critical care nursing placement, I was super excited but slightly nervous. I flew up to Kununurra, in the East Kimberley, on a three-and-a-half-hour flight to find myself on the opposite side of Western Australia in beautiful warm weather, in a small country town.
Being in Kununurra, I was living and working alongside a high population of Indigenous Australians. This meant I was able to apply the knowledge I learnt during the semester into practice. My chosen two elective units throughout my last semester of my nursing degree were Rural and Remote Health and Maternal Care. I believe every nursing student should study Rural and Remote Health as it is so important to know how to care for each and every person that walks through the hospital.
Throughout my time in the emergency department, I was exposed to a number of different cases, such as motor vehicle accidents, skin sores and burns, COVID-19 precautions, broken bones, family domestic violence, chest pain, sports injuries, alcohol and drug misuse, injuries taken place on hikes and gorges, and various other cases that presented to the emergency department. This variety of cases allowed me to practise different skills, working within my scope of practice.
I believe this placement has allowed me to grow professionally and develop independence. It has strengthened my time-management skills, my confidence and my ability to prioritise patients as necessary.
On the weekends I had the opportunity to explore the East Kimberley and the beautiful places it has to offer. El Questro Wilderness Park is only a short drive from Kununurra town, and is filled with beautiful gorges and springs. Lake Argyle is only a short drive away, too.
I felt very comfortable and supported throughout this placement, which is so important, as being in a new, unfamiliar town away from home can be quite daunting. Working in the emergency department was both fulfilling and challenging at times, although I believe the highlight of this experience was my ability to grow as a person, professionally and personally. I feel my confidence and independence has grown significantly while being in Kununurra. This placement was such an amazing experience and I hope to find myself working in Kununurra in my future as a Registered Nurse.
Find out more about CRANAplus Undergraduate Remote Placement Scholarships.