Nurses that work in Regional, Rural or Remote areas play a vital role in closing the health gap for Australians living in challenging geographical regions. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, individuals that live in these areas tend to have a shorter life expectancy and higher levels of disease and injury. They acknowledge that poorer health outcomes in these regions are most likely due to a range of factors, including education, employment opportunities, lower income and their access to healthcare service.
Lucy Petchell – one of our National Rural & Remote Consultants shares why Rural & Remote health is so important to her family, and why her family roots give her a strong appreciation for her role in helping her Nurses do their incredible job.
As a Rural & Remote Consultant, I always ask my Nurses what motivates them to be involved in this line of work. From ‘experiencing rural & remote cultures’ to ‘making a difference to disadvantaged communities’, there are many reasons why my Nurses get involved and continue taking up these contracts.
I want to share a more personal story about my motivation to help facilitate this work for my Nurses and HCA’s Rural and Remote Division.
Majority of my family comes from a small country town called Dowerin, a central Wheatbelt town 2 hours outside of Perth. This region is well-known for the Dowerin field days and (Rusty) The Tin Dog, but for me it is a country town where I spent many school holidays and for several years now, go to visit my grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles.
I would go bush-bashing on dirt tracks, ride with my uncle in the sheep truck, pretend to be soldiers down in the shearing shed, hang out with my cousins and sister, and mostly just spend time being that city-kid that tries to round-up sheep. Whatever it was, we always made our own fun.
Like many rural towns, Dowerin has no health services. Access to quality healthcare was dependant on the surrounding towns’ health services, and healthcare professionals from Northam, Toodyay or Goomalling.
Understanding the geographical limitations during medical emergencies, in areas like Dowerin, gives me an appreciation for the job we all play in bringing quality healthcare to all Australians. It especially makes me appreciate all our hard working Rural & Remote Nurses. They are often the first to respond to off-site calls and will go above and beyond to give the highest level of care to the bigger, broader communities that they work in.
From my family and I to you, thank you for the incredible work you do!