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Becoming a remote area nurse – a new module

14 Aug 2023

If you are interested in working as a remote area nurse or midwife, but uncertain how to get started, you may want to check out our new free reflective online module, ‘Becoming a remote area nurse: essential knowledge’. It’s proven highly popular since its release in May.

When nurs­es and mid­wives are pro­vid­ed with the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion and sup­port dur­ing their tran­si­tion to remote prac­tice, they find that a high­ly reward­ing, even life-chang­ing career awaits them as a remote area health professional. 

The reverse is also true; when infor­ma­tion or sup­port is hard to come by, nurs­es and mid­wives may be deterred from an excit­ing career shift, before or soon after get­ting started.

To help aspir­ing remote area nurs­es and mid­wives to assess their readi­ness and make the career shift con­fi­dent­ly and suc­cess­ful­ly, CRANAplus has devel­oped an online mod­ule titled Becom­ing a remote area nurse: essen­tial knowledge’. 

The mod­ule address­es many of the ques­tions we are com­mon­ly asked, with an eye to sup­port­ing work­force sustainability.

This reflec­tive mod­ule chal­lenges com­mon assump­tions about remote area nurs­ing, intro­duces help­ful pro grams to sup­port path­way and career plan­ning, and pro vides the essen­tial knowl­edge required to thrive in remote health prac­tice. It includes infor­ma­tion that expe­ri­enced RANs wish they knew when they start­ed out and helps to paint a clear­er pic­ture of the real­i­ty of remote health work, includ­ing the broad­er scope of prac­tice and autonomy.

It’s been designed for:

  • Nurs­ing and mid­wifery students
  • Nurs­es and mid­wives at any career stage con­sid­er­ing tran­si­tion­ing to rur­al or remote area practice
  • Nurs­es and mid­wives con­sid­er­ing or under tak­ing short-term agency con­tracts in rur­al or remote areas.

CRANAplus acknowl­edges the valu­able con­tri­bu­tions of mem­bers who have gen­er­ous­ly offered their exper­tise, expe­ri­ences and advice in devel­op­ing and review­ing this resource. We would par­tic­u­lar­ly like to thank CRANAplus Fel­lows, Kylie McCul­lough and Lyn Byers.

Expec­ta­tions ver­sus reality

Below, we fact-check a few com­mon assump­tions about work­ing in remote prac­tice. This con­tent is tak­en from the module. 

Remote com­mu­ni­ties are small and the work­load will be less stress­ful.”
The pop­u­la­tion of remote com­mu­ni­ties can fluc­tu­ate, and the health needs are gen­er­al­ly greater. At times and in some loca­tions always, you will expe­ri­ence long work­ing and on-call hours.

Work­ing in a remote area is a chance to get away from the pol­i­tics of acute, ter­tiary set­tings.”
Col­lab­o­ra­tion with health­care providers is even more impor­tant in remote set­tings! You will like­ly work with an even more diverse team who may be on site with you every day, vis­it reg­u­lar­ly or be work­ing remote­ly. You will also be work­ing with oth­er ser­vice providers and the com­mu­ni­ty. Wher­ev­er there are peo­ple, there are politics!

I have emer­gency man­age­ment expe­ri­ence and will extend my emer­gency skills in a remote area set­ting.”
Your skills will be help­ful to you. How­ev­er, this will be a small com­po­nent of remote area work and every area of your prac­tice will be extended.

I loved my hol­i­day and now I am look­ing for a sea/​desert/​tropical/​tree change.”
Hol­i­days can inspire! Real life is not always the same. Ensure you pre­pare for work­ing in the remote set­ting and man­age your expectations.

I’m keen to help fix the health prob­lems of those liv­ing in remote areas.”
Remote com­mu­ni­ties are resilient. As a remote health pro­fes­sion­al you can sup­port health in the com­mu­ni­ty. Reflect on how you can col­lab­o­rate with the com­mu­ni­ty to reach their health goals and fur­ther empow­er the community.

I am burned out and I do not want the shift work lifestyle any­more.”
You may or may not have shifts’ depend­ing on where you work, but you are very like­ly to have on-call require­ments. There­fore, at times you are like­ly to work very long hours with sig­nif­i­cant pressure.

If you’re inter­est­ed in work­ing in remote health, now or in the future, we encour­age you to access the Becom­ing a remote area nurse: essen­tial knowl­edge module.