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Gaining skills through grants - 3 stories

8 Aug 2022

Gaining skills, preparing to return to clinical practice, maintaining the remote skill set: these are some of the benefits made possible by Nurses Memorial Foundation of SA Grants through CRANAplus. Three health workers outline how their successful applications have empowered them to improve remote health.

Beck Peck, Reg­is­tered Nurse and Midwife,

Beck Peck, Reg­is­tered Nurse and Mid­wife, took full advan­tage of her CRANAplus Nurs­es Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion of SA Grant to under­take the Advanced Life Sup­port course with CRANAplus.

The skills I learned in the ALS course are def­i­nite­ly some­thing that will be very use­ful in the future,” says Beck, who is cur­rent­ly work­ing in mater­ni­ty at the Mid­wifery Group Prac­tice in Broome in West­ern Aus­tralia as a grad­u­ate Midwife.

As an agency nurse, Beck has to pay for her own pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment in cours­es and study, which she is more than hap­py to do to main­tain best prac­tice stan­dards and knowledge.

I’ve done many CRANAplus cours­es and I find each one great,” she says. I am involved in an organ­i­sa­tion called Sur­vive First Aid, help­ing to run five-day wilder­ness sur­vival first aid train­ing cours­es, and the ALS course will cer­tain­ly be use­ful in pass­ing on skills and shar­ing knowledge.”

Beck, from Perth in WA, has for many years worked in region­al, rur­al and remote loca­tions and, because her four daugh­ters are now adults, she is stretch­ing her reach fur­ther than a few hours from home. 

Dur­ing COVID-19 she bought her­self a motorhome to under­take region­al COVID-19 work on the road.

She has now swapped that motorhome for a Troopy – her sights still firm­ly set on nurs­ing in more remote loca­tions in the future.

Beck also does some short stints on her breaks from Broome in mul­ti-pur­pose sites staffed by only two nurs­es per shift, using emer­gency tele­health ser­vices for back-up and Roy­al Fly­ing Doc­tors for transfers.

Those mul­ti-pur­pose region­al sites are always short-staffed and I enjoy the work in dif­fer­ent loca­tions see­ing many parts of WA.”

Michelle McGuirk, Reg­is­tered Nurse

Michelle McGuirk, an Alice Springs girl, cur­rent­ly work­ing for Cen­tral Aus­tralian Abo­rig­i­nal Con­gress in the area of Con­tin­u­ous Qual­i­ty Improve­ment, has used her grant to fund a Remote Emer­gency Care (REC) course, which is part of her plan to get back into clin­i­cal practice.

Michelle, a nurse since 2007, orig­i­nal­ly trained in the area of alco­hol and drug mis­use and worked at the Alice Springs hos­pi­tal before mov­ing into the hospital’s dig­i­tal and tele­health arena.

I recog­nised the para­mount impor­tance of good com­mu­ni­ca­tion with remote com­mu­ni­ties and saw the ben­e­fits that dig­i­tal and tele­health could pro­vide,” she says. 

I am so glad we got the sys­tems up and run­ning before the pan­dem­ic. Dig­i­tal health and tele­health are so impor­tant in keep­ing care plans on track, avoid­ing incon­sis­ten­cies, pro­vid­ing essen­tial care.”

Hav­ing been with the Con­gress for a year now, look­ing at qual­i­ty assur­ance with­in sys­tems, per­for­mance and resources for the Abo­rig­i­nal Com­mu­ni­ty Con­trolled Health Ser­vices, Michelle is keen to work in the organisation’s remote clin­ics. The Con­gress cur­rent­ly has five remote clin­ics but expan­sion is on the radar.

I have want­ed to get back into the clin­i­cal scope and into pri­ma­ry health care in par­tic­u­lar for some time, and I’ve start­ed doing some nurs­ing shifts,” she says.

I think CRANAplus is real­ly well suit­ed for some­one like me who has spe­cialised in a par­tic­u­lar area and is ready to go back into clin­i­cal prac­tice. The REC course was ter­rif­ic, and I am now doing a lot of the CRANAplus assess­ment pack­ages, com­plet­ing as many as I can.

By the end of the year, when the clin­ics are short-staffed, I hope to be out there.”

Amelia Rob­son, Reg­is­tered Nurse

For Reg­is­tered Nurse Amelia Rob­son, the grant mon­ey was used for a Remote Emer­gency Care (REC) course to main­tain the remote skill set she devel­oped over two years out on Groote Eylandt.

Amelia had moved to Nhu­lun­buy on the main­land to work in the rur­al hos­pi­tal when she under­took the REC course in Dar­win, and is now work­ing in the region­al town of Bun­bury in WA.

I will be step­ping back into the remote space when the tim­ing is right,” says Amelia.

On Groote Eylandt, I was so for­tu­nate to have a man­ag­er and a team who sup­port­ed my tran­si­tion to remote. I had excel­lent ori­en­ta­tion, learned heaps about what it means to be a remote area nurse, and I was encour­aged to do a num­ber of cours­es as part of its New to Remote Program.

I know of nurs­es who haven’t been so for­tu­nate. And they don’t last. For me it was a grad­ual intro­duc­tion, always work­ing with some­one else and a good six months before I was on-call.”

Amelia had worked in the emer­gency depart­ment in Dar­win Hos­pi­tal and was with WA Coun­try Health Ser­vice before this post, but says it was very dif­fer­ent to remote.

I think the biggest dif­fer­ence as a RAN is that you need to think a lot more com­pre­hen­sive­ly for each patient,” she says.

Using the CARPA man­u­al and oth­er resources you are expect­ed to think and work at a high­er lev­el of prac­tice. For each patient, you need to decide what assess­ments are required, what is the pri­or­i­ty, what can be done oppor­tunis­ti­cal­ly and what fur­ther advice or treat­ment path­ways may be required by refer­ring to the clin­ic GP, on-call Rur­al Med­ical Offi­cer, or arrang­ing for emer­gency evacuation.

It’s a dif­fi­cult tran­si­tion, leav­ing remote. When you move out of that space you obvi­ous­ly have a lot of trans­ferrable skills so I use them when I can. I have also cho­sen to close a few gaps in my skill set so am cur­rent­ly under­tak­ing a Post­grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Emer­gency Nursing.

That will be very use­ful when I get back into the rur­al or remote space.”

For more infor­ma­tion or to apply, vis­it Nurs­es Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion of SA Grants, CRANAplus.