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Fellow in Focus: Kathryn Zeitz

4 Apr 2022

Kathryn Zeitz, an avid sponsor of the CRANAplus scholarship program to fund remote placements for health students, has fond memories of discovering the existence of our organisation back in 1998.

1 Kathryn Zeitz

A for­mer Board Mem­ber of CRANAplus in a time of sig­nif­i­cant change and a Fel­low of CRANAplus since 2016, Kathryn has main­tained a strong con­nec­tion with the organ­i­sa­tion over the years.

Even though I have no remote back­ground in a tra­di­tion­al sense, I am ful­ly com­mit­ted to the work of CRANAplus,” she says, and will always be a strong advo­cate for the organisation.”

Kathryn com­menced her nurs­ing career at Flinders Med­ical Cen­tre pre­dom­i­nate­ly as a Reg­is­tered Nurse in Acci­dent and Emer­gency. Because of her back­ground in emer­gency care and as a vol­un­teer ambu­lance offi­cer, Kathryn applied for a role in 1998 to help devel­op a Remote Emer­gency Care (REC) edu­ca­tion­al pro­gram for CRANAplus.

It was the first pro­gram specif­i­cal­ly for the remote set­ting. There was noth­ing like it at all in those days,” says Kathryn.

I hadn’t heard of CRANAplus until that moment. What struck me most was that nurs­es in remote set­tings were work­ing at the top of their licence, doing pro­ce­dures that nurs­es in oth­er set­tings are still not allowed to do. I was and still am so impressed.

We were doing some very advanced skills in those pro­grams, skills such as infu­sions for babies, chest drain inser­tions and intubations.

To this day, you won’t find city nurs­es doing these pro­ce­dures, but we had to have them in the cur­ricu­lum because this range of skills in remote set­tings is life-sav­ing. If they’re not done, if no-one is avail­able because of dis­tances, peo­ple die.”

2 Kathryn speaking at the CRAN Aplus Conference in 2014

Kathryn speak­ing at the CRANAplus Con­fer­ence in 2014

Kathryn ran the first four pilot REC pro­grams – in Broome, Port Augus­ta, FNQ and Alice Springs – and has since been a facil­i­ta­tor of cours­es across the country.

Again, in 2002, she reviewed the Remote Emer­gency Care pro­gram, and is proud the cours­es being pro­vid­ed by CRANAplus still [fea­ture] ele­ments we set up in the very ear­ly days.”

Kathryn, who com­plet­ed her PhD the­sis in clin­i­cal nurs­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ade­laide in Feb­ru­ary 2003, joined the Board in 2011 and served for six years dur­ing a peri­od of sig­nif­i­cant organ­i­sa­tion­al growth.

It had been a very small organ­i­sa­tion when we ran the first cours­es,” she says.

When I joined the Board, it had grown, and it grew even more in every area: the ser­vices pro­vid­ed to mem­bers, the fund­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties they have estab­lished, and the sup­port now pro­vid­ed to the rur­al and remote sec­tor in general.”

3 Kathryn Monica Frain being inducted as CRAN Aplus Fellows

Kathryn and Mon­i­ca Frain being induct­ed as CRANAplus Fellows

Dur­ing her time on the Board, Zeitz Enter­pris­es, a busi­ness run by Kathryn and her car­di­ol­o­gist hus­band who does a lot of rur­al and out­reach work, began spon­sor­ing remote place­ments for health stu­dents through the CRANAplus program.

We both see a huge ben­e­fit from encour­ag­ing stu­dents to do clin­i­cal place­ments in rur­al and remote set­tings, for many rea­sons,” Kathryn says.

While the place­ments are impor­tant for the stu­dents’ edu­ca­tion and expe­ri­ence and help to attract peo­ple to work in rur­al and remote set­tings, I believe the place­ments also play a sig­nif­i­cant role in advocacy.

Even if the stu­dents don’t go on to work in these rur­al and remote set­tings, the expe­ri­ence makes them much more com­pas­sion­ate and under­stand­ing when they get that phone call from a remote prac­ti­tion­er, because they are aware of the work the health work­ers do out there and the lim­i­ta­tions they work under.”

With a diverse career in acute hos­pi­tal oper­a­tional man­age­ment, Kathryn has been Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Clin­i­cal Gov­er­nance at Cen­tral Ade­laide Local Health Net­work for three years. She is both an Adjunct Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor with Flinders Uni­ver­si­ty and Clin­i­cal Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor for The Uni­ver­si­ty of Ade­laide and has been a mem­ber of St John Ambu­lance Aus­tralia, in a vol­un­tary capac­i­ty, for 30 years, most recent­ly join­ing their Aus­tralian Board.

Work with a RAN or mid­wife who deserves to be recog­nised for their con­tri­bu­tion to improv­ing remote and iso­lat­ed health care? Nom­i­nate them, or your­self, for CRANAplus Fel­low­ship.