When Taygan McDowell was offered a RAHC placement in Ramingining in the Northern Territory, she didn’t even know where it was. After some research, nerves and lots of excitement, Taygan travelled from Hervey Bay, Queensland, to East Arnhem Land.
“I have previously worked in Indigenous oral health, and my visit to a remote community with RAHC was a fantastic experience that I will always remember,” Taygan said.
“I had met Kylie Brown, the Dental Assistant I’d be working with, during our RAHC orientation and was confident that my placement would be enjoyable and challenging. My philosophy was that I was not in the community for a long time so therefore I wanted to make a difference with the children’s oral health status on a preventative and clinical aspect.”
The Ramingining community is home to approximately 750 people. The local school has approximately 220 students, and whilst the attendance rate is low, Taygan had no problems acquiring clients.
“The locals would come to greet us in the street and be more than happy to have a visit to the health clinic. Especially once word had got around the community.”
The local community was also very accepting of the dental team. Taygan explains that she and Kylie spent a lot of time networking to ensure the local community were aware of their presence.
“We hoped to gain the trust and respect of the local families,” Taygan said. “The local community was more than welcoming and I engaged in local events such as concerts, a school fete and performance evenings held by the local dance group.
“I also experienced spectacular activities on weekends, including hang gliding, eating traditional foods, playing ball and frisbees with the children and meeting the local people. This was without a doubt an enlightening personal experience.”
Taygan says that while the workload was extensive and complex, it was very professionally rewarding.
“The other health professionals that I dealt with were more than helpful and had long-term rapport with the families which greatly assisted our team in providing a high standard of oral health care.
“I have gained so much from my RAHC experience both professionally and personally. I will definitely be available to RAHC for another placement in the near future.
“I encourage all health professionals to at least experience a placement and remove yourself from ‘the norm’. Challenge yourself and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.”
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.