New Zealand’s Dental Therapist sister act

In this RAHC Story, Claire Anderson, a New Zealand-born Dental Therapist writes about both her experiences and those of her sister – Hilary Johnson – working remote with RAHC.

My sister Hilary and I have a lot in common – we both love sailing, both of us have children who are well and truly independent, we are both from New Zealand and we are both Dental Therapists. Hilary left home to do her Dental Therapy training while I was still at school. Wanting to be like my big sister, it was a natural step for me to follow suit.

After working in different districts for some years, Hilary moved north to where the sailing is great and a Dental Therapist vacancy became available to work with me in a double clinic. We have worked all over the New Zealand Far North, both together and independently in many remote locations but nothing here in New Zealand can be considered remote in comparison to Northern Territory!

When Brenda O’Leary, a mutual friend of ours (also a keen sailor) talked about her experience with RAHC as a Dental Assistant we both pricked up our ears! Brenda had previously worked with Hilary as Dental Assistant so we knew we could rely on her to tell it like it is and she did. After brief consultation with our other halves, we started the application process. To date, Hilary has done two placements with RAHC and I have completed four!

We have both had the good fortune to work with Brenda again. Having completed around 20 RAHC Placements over the last 2 years, Brenda’s detailed account of her remote experiences and many tips about what to take (or more to the point, NOT take), our experiences were as expected and more. It is really helpful to network with people who have already experienced a RAHC placement somewhere you are heading to.

Hilary’s comment about working at Lajamanu was that while she enjoyed her time on placement, she appreciated the return to the ocean after being so inland. For me personally, I have met some wonderful people while on placement. I have had some incredible cultural experiences both good and some more challenging. But you certainly learn more about yourself when you are well outside of your comfort zone.  All in all, it has been a hugely rewarding experience and all the more special to be able to share these experiences with my sister and our good friend Brenda.

Would you like to share your RAHC experience with other Health Professionals? We are always looking for RAHC Health Professionals to tell us about their experience, by preparing a RAHC story. If you are willing to share your story, please contact your Placement Consultant or email us.

Thursday, 3 April 2014