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Student Story: Building clinical reasoning in a less critical environment

4 Apr 2022

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.

This CRANAplus under­grad­u­ate remote place­ment schol­ar­ship was spon­sored by HESTA.

1 Kundai and colleagues

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.

5 Cooling off in the afternoons

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.

4 Sharing a meal with friends

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.

2 Exploring around Tennant Creek

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.