I’m going far away. Nine hours from Alice Springs and four and a half from Tennant Creek. The most isolated nursing station in Australia and I’m going to be there for just over two weeks. No internet. No phone reception. No housemates. Just me, Canteen Creek Community and learning, learning, learning. And I am EXCITED!!!
Canteen Creek is a 4.5 hour drive south east from Tennant Creek along red dirt roads. When not graded, it can be extremely riveted and has actually caused some people back problems. During the rains, the road has sections that are impassable by vehicle and require boats to carry essentials. The communities become ‘flooded in’ and simply have to wait for the water to subside. In emergency situations, people are air-lifted out.
On the way we saw beautiful scenery and stopped at a waterhole that was whispering to us ‘Come in for a swim!’. We had a little splash and told ourselves we would stop for a swim on the way back into TC.
Jenny (Aboriginal Health Promotion Officer and all-round beautiful soul), myself and another health promotion officer turned up to the Canteen Creek health clinic on Monday afternoon and got chatting to the health clinic manager / RAN / Nurse Practitioner Cassie. When Cassie learnt I was aiming to be a Remote Area Nurse, she said I had come to the right place. Cassie is super keen to have students and teach them as much about being a RAN as possible. Canteen Creek usually has a population of around 150 people but it is Easter this weekend and the community was expecting an influx of family and friends to celebrate the occasion. This also means an influx into the health clinic. So I cancelled my RFDS placement and got permission to stay on in Canteen Creek to be personally mentored and taught by a Nurse Practitioner with so many post-grad quals that she would need them made into wallpaper should she wish to display them. I grabbed this opportunity with both grubby (from patting the dog) hands!
The set-up in this clinic and quite a few remote area health clinics is very similar to that of a GP office, except there are no GP’s. There are RAN’s and they mean business. People come in with a variety of ailments, accidents, complaints and needs and are seen either one after the other or ‘triaged’ (AKA who’s got the most serious life-threatening complaint in the waiting room, NOT necessarily who can scream the loudest – though that might work on a Friday afternoon when the RAN is in serious need of a G&T…). RAN’s are highly educated and experienced and are required to not only assess and treat but also diagnose and prescribe medications / treatment. They are the doctor. But possibly quicker.
I’m going to be a different person after these two weeks but for the better. Cassie has discussed some plans she is working on (which I can’t divulge) but will be great news to people interested in working in remote areas.
So to sign off, I will be fairly sans internet for a couple of weeks although I can use the clinic’s internet so I will endeavour to update if possible.
Take care and talk soon! – Rachel