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Readiness for rural and remote healthcare settings

8 Aug 2022

Being prepared is the key to working remotely, according to CRANAplus course facilitator, Registered Nurse Mark Dunn.

It’s a hard gig nurs­ing in a remote loca­tion, as there is the need to be a gen­er­al­ist and at the same time to have spe­cial­ist knowl­edge and skills,” says Mark, who has been facil­i­tat­ing CRANAplus Remote Emer­gency Care (REC) cours­es since 2008.

Demys­ti­fy­ing elec­tro­car­dio­gram (ECG) results is one focus he has while facilitating.

ECG is a major area to study when it comes to the heart, and you need to make sense of those squig­gly lines and relate them to the patient’s con­di­tion,” Mark says.

Treat­ing patients with chest pain can be stress­ful. Those pains can cov­er a vari­ety of heart dis­eases or con­di­tions, and some­times it’s noth­ing to do with the heart at all.”

The (ECG) records the elec­tri­cal sig­nals in the heart, giv­ing infor­ma­tion about heart rate, heart rhythm, evi­dence of a pre­vi­ous heart attack or one hap­pen­ing now, blood and oxy­gen sup­ply to the heart and clues to diag­nose an enlarged heart, heart defects and oth­er heart problems.

Con­ti­nu­ity of care is an impor­tant fac­tor in remote areas, but unfor­tu­nate­ly it’s often dif­fi­cult to provide.

If the health care man­ag­er has been in a com­mu­ni­ty for a num­ber of years they know the com­mu­ni­ty real­ly well,” Mark says.

They’ve been around at the birth of the young­sters, and maybe some of the adults, and devel­oped a good under­stand­ing of the rela­tion­ships of the com­mu­ni­ty residents.

After a while they are often accept­ed as a mem­ber of the com­mu­ni­ty fam­i­ly and giv­en a skin name and place.

There are so many rea­sons for the tran­sient nature of health work­ers. Many com­mu­ni­ties rely on the great nurs­es who go out to remote com­mu­ni­ties for a short time, and they do a ter­rif­ic job while they’re out there.

Dur­ing his down time Mark likes to restore vehi­cles and is pic­tured with his Toy­ota Land­cruis­er 1976 – FJ45.

Being pre­pared, being suf­fi­cient­ly pre­pared, is the key, and these cours­es that CRANAplus hold go a long way towards that. The oth­er advice I’d give is mak­ing sure you have men­tors, peo­ple who have your back, who are there to sup­port you, espe­cial­ly when you don’t feel pre­pared. In some sit­u­a­tions you can be over­whelmed by the scale and com­plex­i­ty of deliv­er­ing good qual­i­ty health care.”

Mark has lived in Alice Springs for 25 years, hav­ing grown up in Can­ber­ra and spend­ing nine years nurs­ing in Syd­ney, where he realised he want­ed to spe­cialise in car­di­ol­o­gy and car­dio-tho­racic nursing.

Mark is hap­py to be once again facil­i­tat­ing face-to-face REC cours­es, in between his day job at the Alice Springs Hos­pi­tal as a Nurse Edu­ca­tor Con­sul­tant with­in the Clin­i­cal Edu­ca­tion Team.

For the past 14 years Mark has been a trainer/​assessor, orig­i­nal­ly focussing on remote health workers.

That’s now mor­phed into a more gen­er­al role, train­ing and assess­ing not only remote staff but also hos­pi­tal staff, com­mu­ni­ty work­ers and peo­ple from oth­er organ­i­sa­tions, and being a facil­i­ta­tor with CRANAplus is an exten­sion of that,” Mark says.

To enhance your skills, reg­is­ter for one of our upcom­ing Face-to-face Cours­es or Online Cours­es.