I arrived at Tennant Creek yesterday (6th March 2018) after a fun drive. Visited Wycliffe Well which is apparently Australia’s #1 hotspot for UFO sightings! Onwards to Devil’s Marbles (AKA Karlu Karlu) then to Tennant Creek. My housemates / fellow RN students had arrived and were unpacking. I checked my email and was extremely pleasantly surprised to see I was allocated the master bedroom with ensuite bathroom and walk in robe! Flashes of envy crossed the faces of both flatmates but I was too happy to really care! Besides, as I explained to them, if they were to be the only male with 2 female flatmates, they would probably be allocated the Master bedroom…??
Anyway, as I unpacked I glanced in the bathroom mirror to my insanely bleached dead, greasy, yellow roots hair scrunched up in a clip and looking wild. How did I let it get that bad?? So I rang a hairdresser in Tennant Creek who very kindly offered to get me in that afternoon. When I arrived, she advised me she is the only hairdresser in the entire town! So how lucky was I getting in the night before I was due to start! I left looking a lot more kempt. And confident. Thank you Just U Hair!
Tennant Creek hospital is located just 2 streets behind the ‘main drag’ and about a 3 minute drive from where I am staying. This morning at 8am I, and the two other students, met the nurse educator and had a tour of the hospital.
I was allocated Primary Health for the entire 4 weeks. Primary Health meant I would be doing outreach and community nursing in Aboriginal communities and around Tennant Creek. I was getting more and more excited as we made our way closer to the PH section of the hospital. Shuffling in behind the Nurse Educator to meet the PH Manager, the worst thing I could hear was said immediately “We unfortunately can’t take students, we didn’t know Rachel was coming until last Saturday”. A big ‘BUH-BONG’ resonated between my ears and I felt my face scrunch up ever so slightly. I glanced at one of the other students and he glanced back sympathetically.
My own voice shrieked in my head “THIS WAS THE ENTIRE REASON I CAME TO TENNANT CREEK!” The nurse educator remained calm and quickly gushed “It’s okay, it’s okay, I have a plan B. Always have a plan B”. As we were ushered out and began walking to another section, the nurse educator bent to swipe the door unlocked and sighed “I don’t have a Plan B but I wasn’t going to say that, but we’ll sort something out for you”. I felt both appreciative and ever so slightly resentful at the same time – directed to no-one but everyone at the same time. Why me!?
Carrying on the tour of the hospital, the nurse educator was doing his best to find places for me at least for a couple of weeks until he could either convince or coerce the PH team into doing something with me. I met the dialysis team and was welcomed to join them for a couple of days, next the darling midwives who were happy to have me the week after. Pictures of chubby babies with wide dark eyes and proud yet exhausted Mum’s were plastered near the entrance, and although I’m not a real kid person, who can resist a chubby dribbly squishy baby!
Returning to one of the main wards to hang out before I attended a meeting, a friendly (they are ALL friendly, but this one even more) nurse gave me a slice of caramel slice, asked where I was being placed and confidently said “I’ll have you with me in AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) for a week, I’ll tell [nurse educator]”. So that was that.
Throughout the day, I met more nurses and allied health staff and was looking forward to wherever I would be allocated.
However, after some hard work by all involved at the hospital, I am back in Primary Health and start next week! On Monday I am off to an Aboriginal community called Ali Curung Ali Curung – Barkly Regional Council for 3 nights with a Registered Midwife. Then hopefully the last week I may be off to another Aboriginal community, finger’s crossed!
Overall, the staff at Tennant Creek hospital are some of the most friendly people I’ve ever met. I can’t wait to spend more time with them.
Arriving home this afternoon, my housemates were home but the house was quiet. They emerged after a little while having needed an afternoon snooze after their very first day! Poor guys, I wonder how they will be after their six weeks is up! zombies!
Looking forward to every day. Cya!