Health students reach for the stars

Bernadette Carey - February Cooee

Nursing student Bernadette Carey gets up close and personal with Uluru after the CRANAplus National Conference.

Health students reach for the stars

They came, they saw, they participated…they were impressed.

That’s what happened when members of the National Rural Health Student Network went to Alice Springs in October for the CRANAplus Conference.

CRANAplus is the peak professional body for the remote health workforce of Australia and this was an opportunity to rub shoulders with some truly talented, dedicated people.

Nursing student Bernadette Carey says the experience has further inspired her to pursue a career in remote Australia.

“I was re-energised and uplifted listening to the yarns from the speakers…I felt very enriched after hearing Emma Trenorden and Anawari Mitchell share their stories of mental health care through the Ngangkari Program. It was also interesting to learn about Dr Buddhi Lokuge’s work on crusted scabies.”

Bernadette says the CRANAplus staff she met instilled her with great confidence about the support services they deliver to remote area nurses.

Bernadette was the 2015 nursing rep at SPINRPHEX Rural Health Club in Western Australia. She was one of several Rural Health Club members from across Australia who received financial support from the NRHSN to attend the conference.

Other students who received funding included Laura Wright, a nursing student from STaRRH Rural Health Club at Charles Darwin University, and Michael SAligari, a social work student from WAALHIIBE Rural Health Club in WA.

Also attending was NRHSN Chair Rebecca Irwin who delivered a presentation entitled ‘Reach for the Stars’ about the student network’s Rural High School Visits program where club members volunteer to give career talks and discuss healthy living with 3,000 rural and remote secondary students every year.

“I have attended many high school visits over the past 5 years, including the NT program where I went to Tennant Creek, Hermannsburg and Yirara College here in Alice Springs,” Rebecca told her audience.

“I used my career journey to emphasise that there are multiple career pathways to get to the same end point…I, myself, studied nursing at the University of Newcastle, and worked as a Registered Nurse before transitioning into medicine at the Australian National University.”

2015 NRHSN Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Jessica Leon, and fellow ROUNDS Rural Health Club member, Kadee Jones, were both active on twitter throughout the conference as official ‘tweeters’.

Kadee says she was blown away by what she heard and saw.

“CRANAplus 2015 was my first conference experience and I fell in love…it certainly increased my enthusiasm to become a remote area nurse and eventually move into aeromedical nursing. The main thing was I wasn’t reading stories in a book, I was hearing them first hand from real people.”

Find out more about NRHSN funding for Conferences of National Significance.