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Student story: Jethro's confidence-building placement in Central Australia

8 Apr 2024

Jethro Haythorpe, a nursing student from Charles Darwin University, recently undertook two consecutive placements in Alice Springs, NT. Here, Jethro writes of star-filled desert nights, stunning red dirt surroundings, and teams that supported him to feel confident in his abilities – all things that have left Jethro eager to get back.

This CRANAplus Under­grad­u­ate Remote Place­ment Schol­ar­ship was spon­sored by Zeitz Enterprises.

I am from rur­al South Aus­tralia, study­ing a Bach­e­lor of Nurs­ing exter­nal­ly with Charles Dar­win Uni­ver­si­ty. I was lucky enough to expe­ri­ence two con­sec­u­tive place­ments for eight weeks total at the Alice Springs Hos­pi­tal in May and June 2023.

My remote place­ment expe­ri­ence was over-whelm­ing­ly pos­i­tive, and I felt very well sup­port­ed, par­tic­u­lar­ly by NT Health and Flinders Uni­ver­si­ty who helped me organ­ise afford­able accom­mo­da­tion, reg­u­lar stu­dent debriefs, cul­tur­al edu­ca­tion days and stu­dent net­work­ing sessions.

The con­nec­tions I made with oth­er stu­dents dur­ing this time real­ly helped me feel com­fort-able, and shar­ing place­ment expe­ri­ences with oth­er stu­dents was invalu­able for our learning.

Health care in Cen­tral Aus­tralia is very dif­fer­ent to oth­er places I have expe­ri­enced, with both the staff and patients fac­ing unique challenges.

One of these chal­lenges is the sheer dis­tance, as many of our patients would trav­el many hours and hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres from where they live just for basic health care.

The cul­tur­al diver­si­ty was quite eye-open­ing for me, as I was not aware of how many lan­guages and cul­tures there are in Cen­tral Aus­tralia. These many lan­guages and cul­tures can be a chal­lenge for health­care staff who must have a par­tic­u­lar focus on their com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills and pro­vid­ing cul­tur­al­ly safe care.

I high­ly rec­om­mend any nurs­ing stu­dent or any health­care work­er to con­sid­er work­ing in remote health as there are often many dif­fer­ent oppor­tu­ni­ties avail­able and increased expo­sure to a wider range of expe­ri­ences and peo­ple. Work­ing in a remote area pro­motes a fam­i­ly-like inclu­sive envi­ron­ment where team­work is vital to pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty health care. I was often encour­aged to be involved with patient inter­ac­tions, which made me feel empow­ered and more con­fi­dent in my own abilities.

Cen­tral Aus­tralia is a stun­ning place and, dur­ing my time off, I was able to trav­el and expe­ri­ence much of the beau­ti­ful scenery, includ­ing the many rock holes, ranges, nation­al parks and scenic loca­tions. The strik­ing images are for­ev­er ingrained in my mem­o­ry from the star-filled desert nights to the stun­ning red dirt and rocks. The peo­ple are also a high­light as they are wel­com­ing, friend­ly and help­ful. I will always cher­ish my time in Cen­tral Aus­tralia and hope to be back again soon!

Apply for an Under­grad­u­ate Remote Place­ment Schol­ar­ship for finan­cial sup­port dur­ing your clin­i­cal place­ment, or read about expe­ri­ences of oth­er stu­dents Kar­leigh and Annabelle.