Open yourself up for a rewarding experience - Lynne Gruell's story
In 2009, I was part of a team volunteering in Vietnam as a dental therapist when one of the dental assistants told me about her work in Alice Springs. Her passion for this work was evident and she inspired me to also look to seek work in this area upon our return.
In 2010, my husband and I started a four-year working holiday around Australia in our little caravan. This opportunity really shaped my attitude to work as I knew from then on I wanted to have variety and new learning experiences as often as I could. I have always loved my job but at this stage of my career I wanted to have more choices in the direction my work could take me.
I had seen an article promoting Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC) prior to leaving on our trip around Australia and even started the application before we left knowing that I had a huge desire to work in Indigenous communities. In the meantime, fortune smiled on me when I was offered a contract to work in Weipa and Aurukun. This contract, whilst not with RAHC, gave me a taste of working remote and I knew I was hooked.
In 2012, I was working in Hobart and was surrounded by many colleagues who had completed RAHC placements and their stories inspired me to finalise my application. A year later, I was ready to embark upon my first placement which was based in Alice Springs. Since this time, I’ve managed to do two placements per year in various communities, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Before my first placement I had many questions for the RAHC team, they were always helpful and answered any queries I had so I felt only excitement that first placement. The cultural training was helpful, interesting and vital.
Every placement has brought new challenges and learning opportunities and I would have to say the experience is rewarding in so many ways both professionally and personally.
RAHC work has been life changing for me, taking me out of my comfort zone and challenging my mind.
I have met amazing people who have imparted not only their profession knowledge but also shared their stories with me, such a huge privilege. Most importantly I feel that I have played a small part in improving the oral health of children, these beautiful children put their trust in us as clinicians and bravely climb into the chair, many for the first time.
What a privilege to be learning about and experiencing remote communities first hand. I have encouraged a number of people to pursue this work and I hope that they find the same passion as I have.
Apply and open yourself up for a rewarding experience that will stay with you forever.