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Student story: Diverse patient needs by the sea
Nursing student Kate Janjatovic was fortunate to land a student placement in the tropical town of Carnarvon, WA, alongside her friend. Kate shares her fun living with and learning from other health professionals, and how choosing rural has enriched her learning journey.
I have recently completed one of my nursing placements in Carnarvon, which is a town almost 1000km away from Perth, taking 10 hours drive to get to.
I was assigned a four-week placement in the general ward at Carnarvon Hospital, and I was lucky enough to have a friend complete their placement at the same time as me.
We were lucky to share accommodation with some of the nurses and an OT student — which was great because it meant it was a really social household; we always were having fun.
The general ward and maternity ward are interchangeable, although they are not currently birthing in Carnarvon there still are maternity patients of course. After I complete my Bachelor of Nursing, I plan on pursuing further education to become a registered midwife and so Carnarvon was a great experience for me!
The midwives mainly worked in the outpatient clinic doing community midwifery, but I had the privilege of working and learning from them when the occasional maternity patient was admitted to the ward.
As the hospital is a small rural site, the general ward also cared for paediatric, palliative, day surgery, geriatric, respite, maternity, and mental health — basically all patients. So, I was able to care for a wide range of patients and learn so many different things!
Once a month in Carnarvon, they have day surgery days where the general ward turns into day surgery which was amazing, so I was able to assist with pre-and post-operative care too!
Completing this placement at a remote hospital provided me with education regarding the independence of scope and advocacy for patients who may not always have access to a doctor. It also opened my learning opportunities and really enriched my education as I was able to have a really diverse range of patients.
I would encourage all students to pursue at least one rural or remote placement in their degree as they are completely different to metropolitan placements.