Heidi takes a leap into the bush

By Heidi Beames, NRHSN Alumni, 2014 NRHSN Secretary and Allied Health Representative

Sounds easy – finish uni, get a job.

Although sometimes that involves moving seven hours from home and setting up house by yourself in a town you know virtually nothing about.

It’s actually a pretty fun adventure.

I started work as a physiotherapist in February at Grafton Base Hospital, a town on the North Coast of NSW, between Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay. It’s a beautiful area of the world with many places to explore around the region.

Usually over one day I’ll cover three or four of the seven wards of the hospital, plus help out in the outpatient department. In a metropolitan hospital I’d have my 'cardiorespiratory' or 'musculoskeletal' brain on for a few months at a time as a new grad – whereas here I go to work as a 'physiotherapist' and see what the day throws at me.  

The responsibility of working rurally can be a bit of a challenge, but I have been very well supported the whole way through. I have an experienced team I can get advice from, whether it be about patients, treatment ideas or where to look for answers. This is particularly helpful when I’m faced with a situation I’ve never encountered before (because you don’t see everything when you’re a student and they understand that!). I’ve been given lots of opportunity to keep up-to-date and receive further education through courses and events as well.

My tips:

  • If you can, attend the interview face-to-face. A potential employer will notice your commitment to do so, and will also know you’ve laid eyes on the location and are aware of what to expect if you move there.
  • Say yes – to events, dinner at a colleague’s house or a catch-up after work. You won’t regret meeting new people and getting to know people outside your workplace.
  • Seek out sporting teams or clubs, rock up and ask who needs players.
  • Ask the locals for places to explore. They know where the best spots are, and also where the best coffee is.
  • Yes, you often see your patients around town. But rarely will they recognise you without your uniform on.
  • Stay in contact with your uni friends. You can swap war stories and it can often make you feel lucky that you work where you do, or can help to know that you’re not alone in your experience.

Want to get involved with your rural health club activities? Contact your local rural health club and see where it can take you.


NRHSN eNews pic of Heidi Beams for Nov 2015 - Second