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Student Story: Building clinical reasoning in a less critical environment
Days spent gaining skills in venepuncture, arrhythmias, and wound care. Nights spent enjoying the Territory’s best chicken wings and cooling down in the local swimming pool with friends. Charles Darwin University Nursing Student Kundai Chimhau remembers her expectation-defying Tennant Creek placement.
Kundai and colleagues
I did my final year nursing placement at Tennant Creek hospital. The placement was over four weeks and was the first remote placement I ever completed.
A week into my placement I found myself looking forward to knocking off work and enjoying the tranquillity of the outdoors in the early morning hours or over the weekend.
I was fortunate to be housed with three other students from Adelaide who were also as curious about Tennant Creek as I was, so we shared not only a love for fitness but a desire to learn as much as we could about Tennant Creek.
Cooling off in the afternoons
Between nature walks at nearby Lake Mary Ann or the Tennant Creek Telegraph Station about 5km out of Tennant Creek, and selecting from a wide range of arts, crafts, fashion, and cuisine at the fortnightly local markets at the town centre, there was always something to do.
Although the weather was sometimes unforgiving, with temperatures as high as 41 degrees, it was not enough to deter us from unwinding after work. We soon found a local public pool and a local gym where we could sign up for the duration of our placement and “pay as we go” for a swim.
The nurses at Tennant Creek Hospital were an absolute delight to work with. They were supportive and patient with us. The educator, John Wright, was exceptional in accommodating our needs. Based on our requested skills needs, he allocated us in at least two different wards, and we benefited from individualised placements.
Prior to attending this placement, I expressed to John that I was keen to practise more vene-puncture, and better understand arrhythmias, wound care, and wound management. Based on my needs, he placed me in the Emergency Department as well as the GP clinic. I also got a chance to pop into the COVID-19 clinic.
The beauty of Tennant Creek hospital is that all the wards and clinics are under one roof, so if you are curious about anything, there is always an opportunity to access any clinical area of interest to you. There is also more time to learn at Tennant Creek Hospital because even though the hospital treats short-term illnesses and injuries, with critical cases being transferred to Royal Darwin Hospital, Alice Springs Hospital or Royal Adelaide Hospital, most presentations are secondary to chronic conditions and thus as a student you get an opportunity to build on your clinical reasoning in a less critical environment.
Sharing a meal with friends
At the end of each week, we took it upon ourselves to try out the restaurants in town and we had no regrets. My personal favourite was Sporties, largely because I just love chicken wings and they had a kilo for just $16; add a little buffalo wing sauce and we’ll be friends forever. If you love your barramundi, schnitzel, pizza, or some Asian cuisine, you’ll have all that in Tennant Creek, as long as you are keen to explore.
After a while, the days just seemed to fly by and before I knew it, the month was over and it was time for me to go back home and be someone’s mum again. Tennant Creek allowed me the respite I never knew I needed.
This CRANAplus undergraduate remote placement scholarship was sponsored by HESTA.
Exploring around Tennant Creek
Apply for an Undergraduate Remote Placement Scholarship for financial support during your clinical placement, or read about the experiences of other students including Kelly, Sarah and Georgina.