Ruth Coleman: My Experience has been a highlight of my career
Whilst completing my Bachelor of Nursing, I worked as an Enrolled Nurse at Barwon Health in Geelong. Upon completion, I took up a position in the Emergency Department at Footscray Hospital with Western Health (WH) where I am now a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).
In late 2013, WH asked for expressions of interest to complete a secondment with Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC). After a lot of hard work by both organisations, this program became a reality.
I was privileged to be one of the nurses selected to take part and make a practical contribution to ‘Closing the gap’, an initiative both WH and RAHC are committed to. I looked forward to learning more about the healthcare challenges for Indigenous Australians and saw it as a great professional and personal development opportunity.
In mid-2014, I headed off to Warruwi, a small community on Goulburn Island. Coming from a predominately emergency background, I was initially apprehensive about how I would manage in a primary healthcare setting and found it quite confronting seeing firsthand the state of health of Indigenous Australians.
I was accompanied by Sharon Gibbard, one of RAHC’s Remote Educators who provide support and guidance to help health professionals, like myself, to transition into the remote environment from a clinical and cultural perspective. I felt completely supported whilst on placement by Sharon, the Clinical Manager (RAHC RN Anna Heisar) and the community.
I consider my placement experience as a highlight of my career as it allowed me to have a better insight into Indigenous health and a better understanding of the chronic health conditions they face. To anyone thinking of undertaking a remote area placement through RAHC I say, “Just do it”. The support is wonderful and the work is immensely rewarding.
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.