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cooee! April 2012

In this issue

the future of rural health

• NRHSN Executive ‘Welcome’ • NURHC launch 2012 • Where has the NRHSN footy been? • Meet ‘Our Member, Administrator and Alumni’


rural health workforce


The National University Rural Health Conference (NURHC) 10-11 August 2012 Creswick, Victoria • Welcome evening on Thurs 9th Aug • Venue – Novotel Forest Hill Resort at picturesque Creswick • Inspiring speaker program Stay tuned for more information at and

Address: 1500 Midland Hwy, Creswick, Victoria

enquiries: Convening Committee Simon Reid, NRHSN ⎪ James Roth, NRHSN ⎪ Ben Crough, NRHSN Jacinta o’Neill, NRHSN ⎪ Francesca Garnett, NRHSN ⎪ Catherine Ryan, NRHSN Helen Murray, Rural Health Workforce ⎪ Kerryn eccleston, Rural Health Workforce The National University Rural Health Conference (NURHC) is a conference for NRHSN members, supported by financial assistance from the Australian Government and hosted by Rural Health Workforce Australia.

Cooee! April 2012

Catch up on NRHSN news inside Cooee contents NRHSN Executive round up NRHSN policy takes shape RHW CEO Go Rural

5 6 7 10

regular features: Meet a member Rural placement Rural High School Visits Indigenous Festivals Portfolio reports Club Events

8 11 12 13 14-16 17-19

To find out more: visit the website

Find out what is happening around the network for 2012 from the NRHSN executive - and meet the new RHW CEO Greg Sam. Keep track of the NRHSN Portfolio representatives as they report on activities for Medical, Allied Health, Community and Advocacy, Nursing and Indigenous Health. There’s a round-up of NRHSN advocacy action with an update of consultations, submissions and other efforts to help shape the rural health agenda. Our regular features include a visit to Broome to meet the KRASH President Jules Galliers, then Queensland to catch up with Alumni member Emily Dalton and then back to Victoria to meet the Administrator for AWAIRH, Di Hughes. We also have a rural placement experience at Royal Darwin Hospital and

NRHSN Rural Health Clubs 25

18 10 26 6

5 9 14

27 24

20 17 19 13



2 21 11

16 15 29

12 1 3 7 23




visit to Nhulunbuy, NT. Then, make sure to find out how a Rural High School Visit in Katherine, NT, inspired a student to begin a health career at James Cook University, Townsville. Take note of the regular features; Indigenous festivals and the dates for 2012 CONs events (Conferences of National Significance). See what clubs have been doing in O’week with market stalls, clinical skills sessions and barefoot bowls. We welcome the newest member of the NRHSN; ‘FRANC’ the CRANC Koala. Happy reading Future Workforce team: Project Officers: Amanda Fisher (Cooee Editor), Linda McCaffrey, Kate Nakic,Lauren Castillo, Team Manager Kerryn Eccleston and Director Helen Murray. Email:, Tel 03 9860 4700.





Adelaide University, SA



La Trobe University, VIC



University of Newcastle, NSW



Bond University, QLD



Charles Darwin University with Flinders University), NT



University of Canberra, ACT



Flinders University, SA




University of Notre Dame, WA


La Trobe University (Bendigo), VIC


Charles Sturt University, NSW


University of Sydney, NSW


University of New England, NSW


Deakin University, VIC


University of Melbourne, VIC


University of New South Wales, NSW


James Cook University, QLD


University of Western Sydney, NSW


Notre Dame University, NSW


University of South Australia, SA


University of Tasmania, TAS


University of Wollongong, NSW


Combined Universities, WA


Charles Darwin University, NT


University of Queensland, QLD


Combined Universities of Western Australia


Charles Sturt University, NSW


Monash University, VIC


Cooee! April 2012

Where has the NRHSN footy been? Check out where the NRHSN footy has travelled around Australia. Keep following the footy on facebook @

Imogen Hooper helps CRANC kick off 2012 at O’week.

Members of Rural Health Clubs from around Australia descended on Alice Springs to attend a careers/lifestyle forum hosted by local club CARAH. This included a spot of sight-seeing — of course with the NRHSN footy.

MARHS members take a footy break after their Health Careers forum at Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW, in Feb 2012. 4

WAALHIIBE member Andy Lozyk (NRHSN Junior representative) grabbed the footy at the Edith Cowan University O’Day in Feb 2012

Executive welcomes 2012

2012 Executive: (from left to right) Simon Reid, James Roth and Benjamin Crough Welcome. Whilst this is the first Cooee for the year, the NRHSN Executive has been hard at work since late last year preparing for an amazing year of rural health. Following the exec handover, time has been flying with the amount of activities going on in rural health. NURHC 2012 has been launched. So, looking forward to a great event in August. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the previous executive, Jacinta, Frankie and Cat, for their hard work in 2011 and handing us such a great network. Many of you would have met them at some stage and benefited from their tremendous efforts. On behalf the 9,000 NRHSN members, thank you. We are continuing to build on the work of last year’s portfolios and the executive. One of the greatest outcomes of last year was the National Priorities Paper (NPP). This is a document that represents what we believe is most important for health students looking for

a rural health career. We will use this as a tool to advocate for you all and to make sure as many students as possible can experience what rural health is all about. For many of you, this may be the first time you have read Cooee and for others

you will have had a long relationship with your rural health club. Regardless, we encourage you to be active in your club. Being part of a network brings tremendous advantages and limitless opportunities. The exec is available to help if you have ideas, questions or concerns (Email: about the network. Make sure you take advantage of the resources available on our website ( They will give you tips to help your club thrive, show you how to run a rural high school visit or give you a bit of help for ‘When the Cowpat Hits the Windmill’ (mental health guide). Hopefully we get to see many of you throughout the year at club events or national activities. There are so many great things to get involved in—we are certain there will be something for you. All the best for the upcoming year, James Roth, Simon Reid, Ben Crough, 2012 NRHSN Executive

NRHSN club representatives gathered in Melbourne during March for Face2Face.

COVER IMAGE: Football anyone? NRHSN members Teena Downton, Courtney Challinor and Alyce Jackson headed to Broken Hill, NSW, to experience their rural placement. Teena is a fourth year medical student from Wollongong (member of SHARP and representative of the Community and Advocacy Portfolio), Courtney is a fourth year pharmacy student from Newcastle (President of MIRAGE and representative of the Allied Health Portfolio) and Alyce is a Graduate nurse at Broken Hill Hospital and representative of the Nursing Portfolio (studying a Grad Cert in International Health, member of BREAATHHE). 5

Cooee! April 2012

Policy and Advocacy In keeping with the fast pace of 2011, the year ended on a high note with a meeting with Health Workforce Australia. Then the New Year balloons were barely down before the first submission for 2012 was due on the NSW Aboriginal Health Plan. It is not an exaggeration to say that NRHSN ‘s advocacy role is an increasingly important one. This brings with it a considerable responsibility. Much was achieved in 2011, setting up a strong base to hit the ground running in 2012 with the first ever National Priorities Paper (download and the five NRHSN portfolios and Executive reviewing and prioritising their engagement with stakeholders.

2012 strategy 2012 shapes up as another important year to bring to the fore student views to match the goals of a bigger and better rural health workforce, delivering better health services for communities. With 100% focus on the rural health sector and as the only national, rural, multidisciplinary student Network, NRHSN does play a unique role. The executive, James Roth, Simon Reid and Ben Crough, are looking forward to tabling NRHSN views at the annual round of stakeholder meetings in Canberra in June and many opportunities to express student views will occur at NURHC in the second half of the year. There are a range of issues of great importance to health students across the health disciplines. Chief among these is access to placements with the right quality of supervision and support plus access to training pathways that are compatible with rural and remote aspirations. Change is rarely immediate and the advocacy caravan must keep rolling on, to carry these messages to policy makers at all levels and all NRHSN members can do their bit. The inconsistency between support for medical students and support for nursing and allied health students remains an impediment to more 6

Meeting the minister: Alyce Jackson (Nursing Portfolio) had the honour of meeting NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, at Broken Hill Hospital in February. (From left to right) Alyce Jackson, Murray-Darling MP John Williams, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health Melinda Pavey, Nurse Educator Samantha Elliott and nursing graduate Nicole Bullard. Picture courtesy Gavin Schmidt, Barrier Daily Truth.

students experiencing good rural placements. NRHSN constantly works to raise awareness about this. It is known that students of a rural background (and those with a ‘rural’ partner) are more likely to return and practice to rural areas, so ensuring there are clear pathways for rural students to enter study and train is essential. The NRHSN also seeks to inspire students from the city. NRHSN’s strong commitment to Closing the Gap, means there is a range of ideas and experiences being brought forward about how to build up the capacity of the future health workforce and ensure they are well equipped to play a part improving Indigenous health outcomes.

Health Workforce Australia’s Rural and Remote Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategy The NRHSN prepared a comprehensive written submission to Health Workforce Australia’s Rural and Remote Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategy in late October 2011. The hard

working Community and Advocacy Portfolio team burnt the midnight oil to pull a thoughtful and constructive submission together in collaboration with other portfolios and the 2011 Executive. Earlier, several NRHSN members attended open forum stakeholder consultations held in various locations around Australia and participated in the discussions. Rural Health Workforce and the NRHSN Executive hosted a special HWA/ NRHSN consultation in Melbourne in December 2011. Valuable discussions were held to expand on and bring to life the points made in the submission. HWA representatives were Judy Myers and Prof. Mel Miller. NRHSN was represented by two medical students from the Community and Advocacy Portfolio Teena Downton and Chris Timms and an allied health student Ben Crough (2012 NRHSN Secretary), and Future Workforce Director Helen Murray. NRHSN Co-chair, James Roth, is on the Expert Reference Group for the Rural and Remote Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategy. It is expected that the strategy will be finalised mid year.


Healthy outlook for rural journey

NRHSN Submission to NSW Aboriginal Health Plan The Indigenous Health and Community and Advocacy Portfolios worked with the NRHSN Executive to prepare a submission into the NSW Aboriginal health plan. They were able to draw upon the body of work done for the NRHSN National Priorities Paper in 2011 and provide a valuable student perspective.

RACGP National Rural Faculty Board NRHSN Executive was pleased to accept an invitation to be represented on the RACGP National Rural Faculty Board. The representative, on behalf of the Executive, is Melinda Swan, who is president of the ANU rural health club, ARMS and is a member of the medical portfolio.

CRANAplus new advisory board The NRHSN accepted an invitation from CRANAplus to participate on a new advisory committee to the Board, to focus on issues relating to students and early career graduates across disciplines. Nominated representatives are Catherine Ryan (Nursing portfolio and immediate past NRHSN Secretary) and Katherine Humphreys (Allied Health Portfolio and WAALHIIBE president).

Rural Health Workforce

Greg Sam took the helm of Rural Health Workforce as CEO in January 2012 Hi everyone. This is my first column for Cooee. I just wanted to begin by sharing some thoughts about the future. In short, it actually looks pretty good, particularly if you’re interested in rural health. Despite a climate of economic uncertainty, the Federal Government is committed to investing in our sector and providing a skilled health workforce to the almost one third of Australians living outside major cities. That’s translating to more opportunities for students, better infrastructure and innovation in areas like Telehealth and primary

Get to know the Rural Workforce Agencies

Rural Doctors Workforce Agency (SA)

NSW Rural Doctors Network

Rural Health West (WA)

02 4924 8000

08 6389 4500

Rural Workforce Agency Victoria

NT Health Workforce

08 8234 8277

03 9349 7800

08 8982 1000

Health Workforce Queensland

Health Recruitment Plus – Tasmania

07 3105 7800

03 6334 2355

care practice which will revolutionise the way we deliver health services to remote communities. For our part, we are here to support you on that journey to a town or regional centre that really needs your skills, passion and desire to make a genuine difference. I’d recommend getting to know the Rural Workforce Agencies in each state and the Northern Territory. These are not-for-profit organisations that recruit and support health professionals to live, work and stay in the bush. Importantly, they understand their communities and the opportunities they provide through fantastic local networks and connections with training providers and can hook you up with dream jobs in amazing places. This year they are moving into nursing and allied health recruitment, in addition to their traditional role of looking after doctors. You’ll find their details on the RHW website. One of the good things about the future is that we can all play a part in defining it today. That’s why RHW advocates for positive change. We’ve just made a submission to the Australian Senate inquiry into factors affecting the supply of health services to rural communities. Among our recommendations, are a number that relate to students. For example, we’d like to see the HECS Reimbursement Scheme, currently offered to medical students, expanded to other health professions. We also feel that university medical schools should be held accountable to their intake goals (currently set at 25 per cent) for students from a rural background. You can find our Senate submission at That’s all till next time. Meanwhile, I hope to catch up with as many of you as possible this year at NRHSN events, so get involved. Cheers Greg 7

Cooee! April 2012 community, which gave me a greater understanding of how each community runs and revolves in its own way. This also demonstrated the importance of RFDS services.

Jules Galliers Our member

KRASH President WA What are you studying? I am studying a Bachelor of Nursing, majoring in Aboriginal Health (3rd year), University of Notre Dame, Broome, WA. Have you studied/had other careers in the past? I have worked as a lifeguard, disability support worker and volunteered in Cambodia teaching English, but nursing is my first (but maybe not my last) degree. If you weren’t studying your current course, what would you be doing? Travelling the world or lying on Cable Beach. What attracted you to join your Rural Health Club? Due to our location, KRASH acts as a great way to connect with students throughout the region, which sounded pretty good to me. When you are on placement in remote areas, it’s good to know you can contact other members of your club for a bit of advice.

Em Dalton Our Alumni

Best rural placement experience? I was lucky enough to go on clinical placement to Kalumburu Aboriginal Community. It was particularly isolated at the time, as it was only accessible by plane due to the rain damage on the roads. My time at Kalumburu taught me about remote area nursing and life and the sense of community in remote areas. I felt very included in the small community, and was definitely taken under the wing by a few of the grandmothers. Sometimes I look at the map and I can’t believe I know where Kalumburu is, let alone worked in the community. I was also truly blessed in that I backed this placement up with a practicum in One Arm Point Aboriginal

Where are you from ? Geelong girl, born and raised. Go Catters! I have recently moved to Brisvegas —also known as Brisbane. What do you do there?

Which Club were you a member of? Graduate nurse from Deakin University, former member and co-chair of NOMAD and NRHSN Nursing portfolio representative. 8

I justed started as a Graduate Nurse at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital in their Department of Emergency Medicine (baptism of fire). We (husband and dogs) arrived at the end of February following a road-trip from Victoria. I haven’t discovered a whole lot yet but I have been cycling around – and learned Brisbane is quite hilly, and we’ve been walking the dogs a lot to get to know the neighbourhood. I’m planning a visit to Eumundi to check out the beach and to do a few ‘city’ things like go to GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art). After living in Anglesea for the last three years, where everything is closed by 6pm and weekends are spent on the beach, we are looking forward to enjoying city life for the next year or two, then heading country again.

Best NRHSN experience? I truly enjoyed Face2Face (council meeting of NRHSN representatives) at the end of 2011, despite a flight being cancelled and the hustle and bustle of Melbourne. I was inspired by NRHSN members that run clubs with hundreds of people, whereas in a busy year there are only about 50 people in our whole course. This experience has helped to transform KRASH into a fully functioning and successful rural health club. Best RHC experience? I enjoy the day-to-day running of KRASH, which sees me emailing and calling contacts throughout the Kimberley. These calls and emails generally result in a good catch-up with people who live up to thousands of kilometres away or I haven’t seen for months, prior to getting into business mode and talking events. What is your 5 year plan? In five years time you will find me in One Arm Point Aboriginal Community

What is the best thing about your town/job? I’m still finding out, but so far I love the heat and the rain and the smell of wet grass. I love the reprieve the evening breezes bring, but I also love the intense heat of the day that render doing anything but sitting outside and enjoying a cold beer while the dogs pant at your feet impossible. I’m enjoying living somewhere busy for a change, and am looking forward to exploring Queensland. If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing? I’d be back in Thailand. I lived and worked in a remote village on the Burma border for two years, which was the experience that informed my decision and motivated me to study nursing. I loved that simple village life, and was blown away by the persistence and resilience of my friends from Burma who fought every day for democracy. They also knew how to have fun, and I lived on a houseboat so it was a pretty amazing time for me. I’d like to go back as a nurse.

quite horrified at the realities of city life when I moved to Wollongong for university. I think rural people (and therefore rural students) have a connection with community that is harder to find in a city. My best rural experience, work wise, would have to be working in a school of rural health and seeing the benefits of training rural health students in a rural setting. There are so many benefits but the most important one to me is seeing these rural students take up jobs in rural areas. Evidence shows training students in their local area aids them in working in those same areas when they graduate.

working as a Remote Area Nurse (I hope). Before I get to that point, I feel a large amount of hard work and a few quality trips overseas will be in order. What keeps you occupied in your spare time? When I am not at uni or work I can generally be found down at the beach for a swim or a walk, in my hammock, googling gluten-free recipes, camping or attempting to catch fish. Unfortunately I think I have aged before my time, as I am almost never seen at the nightclub, except for a few post exam celebrations. Words of wisdom for others thinking about a rural career? I honestly believe that everybody needs to go to rural or remote areas for experience, because things run a little differently. It can take a little bit of getting used to. Also, once you experience it then there is no way that working anywhere else will be an option -it’s almost addictive. I have met a lot of students and health professionals who come to the Kimberley for one placement and never want to leave. Come to Broome and the Kimberley, we will look after you here at KRASH.

Best rural placement experience? Unfortunately I didn’t have a rural placement because of reciprocal arrangements between my University and the local hospitals, and my own financial situation. This lack of rural placement in itself turned into a positive; as each roadblock was put up in front of me I grew more and more determined to work on demolishing them. That encouraged me to increase my involvement with NOMAD, and subsequently the NRHSN and CRANA+. Anything else at all? I have loved being involved with the NRHSN and look forward to continued involvement through the Alumni program. We need to continue our efforts to engage the enthusiasm that is present amongst some NRHSN students and to identify meaningful, real and accessible ways to harness this. Hopefully this will lead to the creation of a capable, realistic and passionate rural health workforce long into the future.

Di Hughes AWAIRH Administrator

Bioscience Lecturer, La Trobe Rural Health School What do you do at La Trobe? What does your job involve? I work part-time as a Bioscience Lecturer in the La Trobe Rural Health School. I teach first year anatomy and physiology to core first year students. These students are mainly studying allied health courses. I mostly teach nursing students but also teach a few of the other allied health disciplines. I give lectures and run workshops, which I enjoy as I get the opportunity to work closely with students and really help them learn the content. As part of my role I am conducting research into the role red blood cells play in neutralising free radicals within the body. My job also involves community engagement, which is where AWAIRH comes in. How long have you been involved with AWAIRH? The staff liaison role became available at a staff meeting a year ago. I thought working with students in a social capacity would be another way to connect. I still think that a year later. What is your best rural experience? I grew up in a rural area and have mostly lived out of town so have plenty of great rural experiences. I remember being

What keeps you occupied in your spare time? Spare time is pretty limited...I work parttime, study part-time (working on a PhD), have a young family, live on 14 acres of hobby farm, raise a few animals, like to exercise, love to garden. I never have trouble keeping occupied. Do you have any words of wisdom for others thinking about a rural career or wanting to get involved in their local Rural Health Club? Rural careers are so varied and the benefits of community can be great. I have quite specialised skills but have not found it hard to get appropriate work in a rural area, and I never get stuck in a traffic jam. Join a rural health club and get involved. We welcome city kids. You can learn great skills that will really help you when you graduate and get work, and establish networks that can last a lifetime. Living in a rural area is certainly worth a try and can add greatly to your CV. What’s the one thing you want the world to know about you? I’m lucky enough to teach in the most fascinating subject area, everybody has some level of interest in the human body. This makes it easy for me to come to work each day and helps me really enjoy my role at La Trobe University. And, the thing that you do not want the world to know? Despite fainting at the sight of blood, I am about to undertake a blood collection course for my research study (I hope it helps if it is not my blood). 9

Cooee! April 2012

National ‘Go Rural’ campaign promotes rural medical careers “What are you waiting for? Go Rural” That’s the tagline of a new national campaign by Rural Health Workforce and the state and territory Rural Workforce

Georgia Frew, Anita Flynn, Pragnya Jagadish and Samantha Lee were among 100 medical students that attended Rural Health West’s Go Rural event in February at Nedlands, Western Australia.

Agencies to encourage medical students and doctors to consider careers in rural practice. In addition to national advertising supported by social media, each agency has hosted a series of Go Rural events to give medical students, interns and registrars an insight into rural practice and its associated lifestyle attractions. Regional bus tours, networking dinners and trips to remote clinics are among the many activities. A key focus of the campaign is the promotion of Federal Government incentives, which include payments of up to $120,000 for GPs to relocate to a rural or remote area as well as incentive payments for registrars who work in the country. So far, more than 150 doctors, students and other health professionals have registered their interest in rural

Emma Ramsey and Emily Cooper were among more than 60 graduating students who attended the South Australia Go Rural function at Adelaide. Medical students from Flinders University’s Graduate Entry Medical Program attended the evening in December.

careers via the Go Rural website. Find out more at

Med students get plastered for a good cause The cause of rural health got a boost in Brisbane on 3 March when 40 medical students tried their hand at a variety of rural clinical skills. They learnt about emergency resuscitation, how to stitch a wound and plaster a broken limb under the supervision of some of the best practitioners in the country. The Go Rural skills workshop was run by Health Workforce Queensland and targeted at second year medical students from an urban background. “We wanted to give these young people a taste of what it takes to be a rural doctor,” said Health Workforce Queensland CEO, Mr Chris Mitchell. “We were delighted with the response to this event from universities throughout Queensland - in fact we had more than double the number of applicants to places. It shows there is tremendous interest in rural medicine these days and that’s got to be good news for country communities.” Health Workforce Queensland is a not-for-profit organisation that 10

Kristy Jackman (right) was a popular presenter at the Go Rural skills workshop for second year medical students. Kristy is one of the trauma clinical nurses at Royal Brisbane Hospital. She is pictured with University of Queensland students Jason Yossar, Suny Nakajima, Douglas Bell and Ryan Pickles, and Griffith University student Rachel Preisenberger. Suny, Douglas and Ryan are members of TROHPIQ. attracts, recruits and supports doctors in the bush. Its free services include locum support, family weekends and professional development. This year it will be expanding its recruitment role to

include nursing and allied health. The Go Rural skills event included information about life as a rural doctor and presentations from Queensland’s university rural health clubs.

Julia Payne Rural Placement

Melbourne University student Julia Payne travelled to the Northern Territory earlier this year to complete a rural clinical placement at Royal Darwin Hospital and to experience a glimpse of life in East Arnhem Land through the COMBY (Check Out My Back Yard) ‘Go Rural’ campaign. What are you studying? I am completing an MBBS/BMedSci at The University of Melbourne. I’m Melbourne born and bred (a city slicker!) and a member of Outlook. Where was your rural elective experience? I went to The Royal Darwin Hospital in the Northern Territory Did you have exposure to a broad range of clinical experiences? I was able to experience aspects of Indigenous and tropical medicine that I had not seen before, as well as the general medicine and surgery seen in any hospital around the world. Highlights include spending time with local children and experiencing ward rounds. The rounds were fun. It was a joy to see patients grow and develop each day and start smiling again. The doctors were friendly, supportive and enthusiastic teachers. We were very much encouraged to participate actively within the hospital and also on outreach visits to remote communities with specialists. This was enriching from a medical perspective but also on a cultural and personal level. What have you taken away from your rural elective experience? Lots: greater medical knowledge, a greater understanding of life in the NT, an appreciation of the beauty of the outback. What was it like being included in another community? I loved Darwin. People were so welcoming and inclusive: we had barbecues by the beach, trips to Litchfield, farewell dinners, pub trivia (limited success, unfortunately)…it was great fun! The people in the Indigenous communities were also much more inclusive than I expected. I was a bit nervous meeting them at first because

Julia Payne catches up with one of the local children at Nhulunbuy during her Go Rural experience in the Northern Territory, organised by NT Health Workforce (GPNNT). This photo was taken during a mobile health clinic visit to Wallaby Beach. I was acutely aware of our different cultural backgrounds but I actually found them to be a very friendly, generous and gentle people…with a very good sense of humour. Plus, the weather was great. Where did you go next? I went to Nhulunbuy (and some of the surrounding communities) and Elcho Island, in East Arnhem Land. What was it like being mentored by a local health professional ? My mentor was Dr Angela Woltmann, a GP with extensive rural experience (particularly in Nhulunbuy). She was extraordinary. To meet her is to be inspired by her because she is passionate about East Arnhem Land – not just about improving health but also about the people, the art, the culture, and the very land itself. She said herself that when she is in East Arnhem Land she is “home”. She was able to give insight into what the real issues and challenges are, but also offer an honest and experienced perspective on what it is actually like to live in Nhulunbuy. I was certainly very inspired by her, and I would love to go back and work under her guidance! What have you taken away from this experience? COMBY gave me a unique peek at real rural practice. I come from a city background and I was able to see that much of what I thought rural health was like – issues too great to be solved, limited career opportunities – was actually urban myth! I saw rural practitioners developing real rapport with their communities –

and the Indigenous people in particular – and are working with them (of the people, by the people, for the people) to improve health behaviours in a positive, co-operative way. Furthermore, the capacity for personal and professional development is immense. Health professionals are reliant on their clinical judgement and need to be proactive, they must be sensitive to social and cultural nuances. Knowledge, confidence and skill as a practitioner grow from this understanding. You have to deal with all sorts of situations without close access to a big hospital, so the opportunity to be involved in a wealth and breadth of medical experiences is greater than in many urban areas. What was it like being included in another community? Great! Unfortunately it was a really quick visit – 2 days – but everyone was most hospitable, friendly and warm. The medical people I met were inspiring: knowledgeable, professional and sincerely caring. What is your 5 year plan? The immediate plan is to enjoy (survive!) med school and (hopefully!) emerge a good doctor. I’m not sure exactly what my plan is for the longer term but I’d love to get involved in some rural health and – following such a positive experience with COMBY – go back and spend some time working as a doctor in the NT! Anything else at all? Go and visit! All students should see this different and vital part of our country. 11

Cooee! April 2012

Rural High School Visit inspires career Mum’s dream to become a nurse but she never got there. We have a lot of health issues in communities around Katherine and I really want to go back and make a difference.” Candice, who holds an undergraduate scholarship from Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health, also plans to return to the NT once she completes her studies. She was rapt to see Cassie on campus earlier this year. “It’s awesome and it shows that high school visits work.” 10 year anniversary GPNNT Rural High School Visits This is the 10th year of rural high school visits in the Northern Territory and the program is so popular that NT Health Workforce (General Practice Network NT) has received more than 250 applications for the 2012 program. The Central Australia Trip is from Thursday 26 April - Saturday 5 May the Top End trip is from Saturday 26 May - Saturday 2 June. The program offers 12 places (6 on each program) for health students. Candice Lamb (left) and Cassie Berto have a lot in common. They both attended Katherine High School in the Northern Territory, they were each inspired by a rural high school visit, they are now studying health at James Cook University in Townsville and are both members of RHINO Rural Health Club. Our picture shows them together in the university’s Eddie Mabo Library. Candice, an aspiring physiotherapist, always remembers the day the high school visit team came to town in Katherine. So she was only too happy to spread the word

about rural health careers when she returned to her old school last year with other rural health club members on a visit organised by NT Health Workforce GPNNT), the territory’s not-for-profit rural workforce agency. While there she caught up with Cassie and convinced her to pursue her interest in health. Cassie is now studying first year nursing at James Cook and is the holder of a Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship for Indigenous students. “I’m proud to be the first person in my family to go to university,” says Cassie. “It was my

Database More than 7,000 members have signed up to the NRHSN Database in its first year. Well done to clubs for promoting this important tool to members. It is exciting to know we have such a large network of enthusiastic students who not only care about rural health, but are also prepared to put their hand up to get involved. Keep promoting the database and we will see how many more members we can sign up during 2012. Every Rural Health Club is required to have a person responsible for managing the database. If you or another club member requires training or more information, please email or call 03 98604700. 12

NRHSN 2012 Rural High School Visits Get together with your club members and plan some exciting trips to rural towns and have your club recognised. We also need all clubs to upload RHSVs onto the NRHSN website to share with the network where you are going and remember to send in a report for every RHSV your club completes. The RHSV and Indigenous Festival Kits have been sent out to all clubs providing you with some great equipment including a Gutsy Gus to use for your trips. Also check out the RHSV website for some great resources including health career flyers, photo consent forms, information brochures and activity ideas. Email with any questions or suggestions. Congratulations to Clare Sutcliffe, from FURHS, who has been elected as the RHSV Internal Officer for 2012, for the second year running.

Indigenous Festivals The national schedule of Indigenous festivals is about to kick off with the first event to be held in Port Hedland, WA, in June, through to the last festival in Ceduna, SA, during October. Congratulations to the Indigenous Festivals Internal Officers Amber Ruane from ARMS and Natalie Kew from OUTLOOK, who will work alongside clubs in the coming months, with the assistance of the Rural Health Workforce Project Officer, Kate Nakic. A Rural High School Visit/Indigenous Festival kit was delivered to each club to inspire some great activities at the

festivals. Take advantage of activity materials in the kit. For more information contact Wakakirri : Barunga, NT -August 24 Ceduna, SA -October 19 Halls Creek, WA - September 7 Deadly Days: Wauchope, NSW-September 4 Ballina, NSW-September 6 Vibe Alive: Port Hedland, WA-20-21 June Townsville, QLD: 26-27 July Bendigo, VIC- 8- 9 August

Inspiring message; OUTLOOK members promote tips for healthy living at Deadly Days, Coffs Harbour, NSW.

Give Them Wings A new scholarship program for country students has taken off in Victoria thanks to a partnership between Rural Health Workforce and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Victoria). Aptly named, the Give Them Wings scholarships will support young people from country Victoria in the study of nursing and allied health at university. The first two recipients will be announced soon. One nursing and one allied health scholarship will be awarded in 2012, with each recipient receiving $2,500 towards their first year university living expenses — plus a Royal Flying Doctor experience. “A contribution like this can make a huge difference for a young person leaving a small town to attend university,” says Scott Chapman, CEO of Royal Flying Doctor Service (Victoria). His comments were echoed by Greg Sam, CEO of Rural Health Workforce, who says universities have a crucial role to play in overcoming Australia’s rural health shortages. “The bush needs more health workers of all kinds,” says Mr Sam. Applications closed on 31 March. For further information, visit the website


Get your applications in for Conferences of National Significance. Check out the website Date 1-3 April 2012 3-5 May 2012 18-20 May 2012 23-26 May 2012 24-27 June 2012 3-8 July 2012 17-19 Sep 2012 19-22 Sep 2012 20-23 Sep 2012 3-7 Oct 2012 24-27 Oct 2012 25-27 Oct 2012 26-28 Oct 2012 7-10 Nov 2012 16-18 Nov 2012 7-10 April 2013

Discipline Allied Health Nursing Medicine Nursing Speech Pathology Dental All Nursing Allied Health Medicine All, Nursing Medicine Medicine Medicine Medicine All

Conference Allied Health Professionals Association Conference, Canberra, ACT (applications closed) APNA National Conference 2012 ,Melbourne, VIC (applications closed) GPCE General Practitoner Conference & Exhibition, Sydney, NSW, (applications closed) RCNA Corporate and Clinical Governance QLD, (applications closed) Speech Pathology Australia, Communicate our natural state, Hobart, TAS ADSA Australian Dental Students Convention, Sydney, NSW Sowing the Seeds of Farmer Health, Hamilton, VIC CATSIN Conference, Cairns, QLD SARRAH Rural and Remote Practice Totally Wild, Launceston, TAS AIDA 6th Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress, Fremantle, WA CRANAplus 30th Annual Conference, Pearls of Wisdom, Cairns, QLD GP12 Gold Coast, QLD Rural Medicine Australia 2012, National Conference of RDAA & ACRRM, Alice Springs, NT AGPN National Conference, Adelaide, SA GPCE General Practitioner Conference & Exhibition, Melbourne, VIC NRHA National Rural Health Conference, Adelaide, SA 13

Cooee! April 2012

NRHSN portfolio updates for 2012 Medical Portfolio

Matt Irwin, Melinda Swan, John Clark and Madeleine Venables Introducing the medicine portfolio for 2012 – with team members that hail from four different states. Each has a unique perspective on rural health. Matt Irwin (UNSW) and Melinda Swan (ANU) are the portfolio seniors, with John Clark (Monash) and Madeleine Venables (UWA) taking on the junior representative positions this year. We are all really excited to represent medical students nationally within the NRHSN and to many external stakeholders, and will strive to advocate the views of the future health workforce. Each member of the portfolio has a strong drive for rural health, and we are dedicated as a team to improving healthcare for country patients. Throughout 2012 we hope to increase the information available to students and junior health professionals, about the many incredible scholarships, training pathways and career options that rural Australia can provide. This will be achieved by compiling stories about amazing country experiences, unique rural towns and professional opportunities available in these rural locations. Bringing all this information together into the NRHSN website is one

Matt Irwin, (l-r) Melinda Swan, Madeleine Venables and John Clark at Face2Face in Melbourne during March 2012. major aim of the med portfolio this year; to really demonstrate the many rural health possibilities, and get as many students involved as possible. We also feel very privileged to be the NRHSN representatives on national committees such as RACGP (Royal Australian College of General Practitioners) National Rural Faculty Board and ACRRM’s (Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine) John Flynn Placement Program and Bonded Support Program. We also work with AMSA (Australian Medical Students’ Association) on rural health issues of national significance for medical

students. It is our objective to ensure that the voice of the future health workforce is definitely incorporated into the activities and policies of these organisations. We really want to present strong student feedback, to guarantee the greatest level of support and generate awesome rural health experiences. 2012 is shaping up to be a dynamic year. We are looking forward to working with students, and driven to advocate to improve overall health service delivery and training to country Australia. Contact us at

Face2Face; James Roth, (l-r) Greg Sam, Ben Crough, Simon Reid and Lou Andreatta. RHW CEO Greg Sam and Lou Andreatta (Department of Health and Ageing) presented at the NRHSN council meeting, Face2Face in March. RHW board member Ameeta Patel also presented about her GP experiences in Alice Springs, NT.


Allied Health Portfolio

Lindsay Dundon, Courtney Challinor, Kristy McGregor, Katherine Humphreys, Christopher Myers and Ingrid Diep In what promises to be yet another successful year for the Allied Health Portfolio (AHP), we will continue to strive for our goals by further developing the initiatives of our portfolio forbearers to ensure the continued support of various government agencies and our major stakeholders. This year the AHP welcomes four new members. Courtney Challinor (Pharmacy, Sydney) is our new senior representative who joins our returning senior representatives Lindsay Dundon (Occupational Therapy, Albury) and Kristy McGregor (Social Work, Wagga Wagga). We also have three new junior representatives, with Katherine Humphreys (Physiotherapy, Perth), Christopher Myers (Physiotherapy, Townsville) and Ingrid Diep (Optometry, Melbourne) joining the team.

Katherine Humphreys, (l-r) Lindsay Dundon and Courtney Challinor at Face2Face, Melbourne. In close collaboration with our existing (SARRAH) and new (CRANAplus) stakeholders, the AHP has established three new goals focused on better representing allied health students from around Australia. The first is to further develop relationships between

the Portfolio and key stakeholders. We plan to do this via the publication of a quarterly stakeholder newsletter. Secondly, we will focus this year on improving our communication with members. Experience has shown us that electronic mediums such as Facebook are proving to be great ways to communicate with our members and as such, we will further develop our use of these mediums this year. Thirdly, we plan to build on the success of the Rural Clinical Skills Weekends run by Perth based allied health club WAALHIIBE. This year, we will attempt to produce a guide detailing how to run Allied Health Rural Clinical Skills Weekends. In doing so, we hope health clubs from all states will be able to provide their allied health members with the knowledge and hands-on opportunities these rural and remote workshops have to offer. In closing, it looks to be a busy year. If you would like any further information or wish to provide feedback to your representatives please do not hesitate to contact us via

Indigenous Health Portfolio

Justin Cain-Bloxsome and Dameyon Bonson We are eager to see the Indigenous Health portfolio excel in 2012 to build on the momentum of a ‘massive year’ in 2011. The profile of the Indigenous Health portfolio increased exponentially last year, which was due in part to the efforts of Annalyse Crane, who we would like to acknowledge for her work as senior portfolio representative. Since Dameyon joined the Indigenous Health Portfolio as the junior representative, the momentum has continued. He adds a wealth of experience and maturity to the portfolio. Dameyon lives in Broome, WA, while studying Aboriginal studies and Social Work. He works as an Action Plan Coordinator in the area of Indigenous suicide prevention and life preservation. Dameyon is a descendant of the Mangarayi people

Justin Cain-Bloxsome (l-r) and Dameyon Bonson at Face2Face, Melbourne. of the Northern Territory and the Mabuiag, Badu people of the Torres Strait. Some of the goals set by the portfolio in 2012 include: 1. Continuing to increase the Indigenous student membership of the NRHSN. 2. To maintain strong relationships with our stakeholders 3. Ensure that RHCs are involved with Indigenous events such as Close the Gap Day and Indigenous festivals. Just to name a few.

We are looking forward to collaborating with the executive and other portfolios with the intention of strengthening stakeholder relationships. The portfolio has already attended Face2Face in Melbourne. This was a great chance to hear plans from rural health clubs of their Indigenous health activities for the year. On that note, the portfolio was also excited to hear about club activities for Close the Gap Day, held on 22 March. The Indigenous Health portfolio is looking forward to 2012 and if you have questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email on Cheers Justin and Dameyon 15

Cooee! April 2012

Nursing Portfolio

Catherine Ryan and Alyce Jackson The Nursing Portfolio warmly welcomes all new students to the NRHSN and a big hello to all current members. The Portfolio would like to introduce you to new Senior Representative, Catherine Ryan, a third year Nursing student at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne (2011 NRHSN Secretary) and passionate about remote health. The new Junior Representative is Alyce Jackson. Alyce graduated with her Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Newcastle and is currently studying for her graduate certificate in international health, focusing on indigenous health issues. The Portfolio has a jam packed agenda for 2012 and we would like to give you an overview of where we are heading. The Nursing Portfolio can help your Rural Health Club in a variety of ways, please take a look at our role and let us

Alyce Jackson and Catherine Ryan know how we can support your Club; • To be the main point of contact for Nursing Representatives at a Rural Health Club level • To encourage engagement with Nursing students at a Rural Health Club level • To advocate for Nursing students within the NRHSN and stakeholders • To liaise with relevant nursing stakeholders • To contribute to publications (in consultation with NRHSN executive) • To be informed of issues pertinent to nurses and nursing students at a national level

• To represent the NRHSN at stakeholder conferences and meetings • To contribute to papers produced by the NRHSN, eg. NRHSN National Priorities Paper, Position Statements • To contribute to COOEE! • To maintain monthly updates of Nursing Portfolio activities to the NRHSN Executive The Nursing Portfolio goals in 2012 will increase engagement with members and stakeholders. The Nursing Portfolio will use our Facebook page (!/ groups/116125981805764/) as a forum for discussion and a place for us to advertise conferences and scholarships. As a result of the 2011 CRANAplus conference, a sub-committee has been established that will draw on students and early career professionals from all disciplines. A representative from the Nursing Portfolio and Allied Health Portfolio will sit on this sub-committee. The Nursing Portfolio representative will join the sub-committee at meetings and advocate on behalf of the NRHSN. Contact us at

Community and Advocacy Portfolio

Chris Timms, Teena Downton, Francesca Garnett and Mitch Milanovic

The Community and Advocacy Portfolio (CAP) has been working hard to represent the members of the NRHSN over the last 6 months with bright smiles and firm handshakes. In 2012 we welcome two champions of rural health to the portfolio, Francesca Garnett (2011 NRHSN CoChair) and Mitchell Milanovic, whilst Teena Downton and Chris Timms stayed on as senior representatives. The new team has set out clear goals for 2012. CAP will continue working with the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA), re-establish links with the Australian Rural Health Education Network (ARHEN) and offer greater opportunity for your input into policy work. To get you in on the action, we’re working with the NRHSN Executive to provide you with more information on how advocacy works 16

and what the NRHSN is doing. Check out what we’ve been up to on the on the NRHSN website under “Community and Advocacy” and “Publications” pages. The NRHA doesn’t take a holiday and CAP has been working with the NRHSN Executive to represent the student voice. We’ve contributed to submissions on factors affecting health services in rural and remote Australia, locum places and Mitch has joined the organising committee for the 2013 National Rural Health Conference. Over the summer, Chris and Teena also met with Health Workforce Australia to make sure rural health workforce reforms reflect our generation’s needs. When not jet-setting around the country shaking hands and kissing babies, the CAP team has been busy compiling a series of policy documents.

Francesca Garnett and Chris Timms at Face2Face, Melbourne in March 2012. We’ve revised the Inter-professional education policy, set out a draft optimal rural guidelines document, and worked with the Indigenous portfolio on a submission on Aboriginal health planning for NSW. We want to hear from you (advocacy@ Think of us as a loud group of people, think of us as policy junkies or just think of us as a feather in the NRHSN Cap.

Out and about with NRHSN Clubs



NOMAD members played barefoot bowls at Torquay.

RAHMS members hang out after a club meeting. Back (L-R): Emily Smith, Sophie Alpen, Chris Timms, Tim Nguyen, Blake Stuart, Grace Edwards. Front: Hanna Grimson and Julia Fattore.

CRANC executive were well prepared for O’week to sign up new members at the university market day. Top row (l-r) Angela Ramsey, Ely Taylor, Gemma Altinger, Deanna Skitt. Bottom Row (l-r) Lyndsie Jordan and Imogen Hooper. Far right: Franc is holding the water bottles. Franc is CRANC’s newly named koala mascot -who received a name following a successful O’week competition.

NOMAD executive had a huge day signing up new members during O’week.

AWAIRH members took part in a rice-drawing activity at a welcome barbeque held at La Trobe University in February as part of O’week activities.


Cooee! April 2012

Rural Health Club Events 2012

Check out 19 March January RHUUWS Bonded Support 27 January

TROHPIQ Rural Clinical Schools Bargara Trip

30 January

TROHPIQ welcome back BBQ SHARP Medical Student Welcome BBQ


Program information session

22 March

SHARP Close the Gap RHINO Close the Gap Day NERCHA Close the Gap LARHC Close the Gap Day

23 March

11 February

CRANC Emergency Tabletop Simulation TROHPIQ Skills Day 2 (Ipswich) and Welcome Back BBQ

15 February

NOMAD Special General Meeting

6 February

TROHPIQ Heads Up TROHPIQ Skills Day 1

26 March

RHINO Market Day Sign-Up Stall

28 March

RHINO O-Week Trade and Lunch Exhibit

30 March

16 February

RUSTICA Skills Night Semester 1

NOMAD Barefoot Bowls

RHINO Multi-Disciplinary Skills Night FURHS Wilderness Health Night

SA Tri Club Planning Day

NERCHA night with the stars

MARHS Albury-Wodonga Health Careers Expo


TROHPIQ Fraser Coast Trip

ARMS Northern Territory Photo Exhibition

17 February

18 February 24 February

25 February 27 February

ARMS ACRRM JFPP and BSP Information Session

28 February

RHUUWS JFPP Information session

March 2 March

‘Go Rural’ Workshop: H4H, TROHPIQ and BUSHFIRE

3 March

‘Go Rural’ Health Workforce QLD Skills Development Day Skills Development Day

31 March

2 April

11 April

RHINO Rural Generalist Program Info and Q&A with Dr Lennox

14 April

TROHPIQ Toowoomba Trip

15 April 20 April

WILDFIRE Matthew Campbell Memorial Evening WAALHIIBE RAW Wild West CRANC Remote Emergency Care Course

21 April

NOMAD Wine Tour

6 March

ARMS Close the Gap ceremony and Annual Bush dance


7 March

FURHS/ACCRM John Flynn Info Session

8 March

KRASH Rural High School Visit & International Womens Day

9 March

TROHPIQ Trivia Night RHUUWS JFPP Information Session NERCHA Tamworth RHSV KRASH Rural High School Visit

15 March

MIRAGE Welcome Drinks

16 March

28 April


4 May TROHPIQ, H4H, BUSHFIRE, RHINO- Joint Rural Health Club Weekend 4 May NERCHA @ UNE Open Day 19 May TROHPIQ Cherbourg Trip


1 June NERCHA Life’s a Carnival, Mental Health Day


WARRIAHS: Commencement BBQ SHARP Annual General Meeting RUSTICA Welcome Dinner KRASH Rural High School

NURHC, Creswick, VIC

HOPE4HEALTH Midnight Muster

29 September-1 October

StARRH Tiwi Island Footy & Arts Festival

15 November

17 March

18 March 18

NOMAD members show off their bowling tips and technique during a break from Barefoot bowls at Torquay.


5 March

RHUUWS Inaugural Garden Party

KRASH hosted an event to mark International Women’s Day in March. Jules Galliers and Rosie Miline are holding up the banner to mark the occasion.

MARHS members Jenna Peatling (l-r) Claudia Westcott, Molly Banks and Sian Draffin participated in a health careers day at Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW in February.

10-11 August 22 August

CRANC Mental Health First Aid RAW, Dunnedoo

HOPE4HEALTH Jazz Dinner Dance


Cooee! April 2012 SHARP has kicked off 2012 with lanyards as give-aways for students and a full calendar of events. The colour of O’week as WILDFIRE prepared for the onslaught of students beginning back at University after the holidays.

ROUNDS Shane Antao and Terry Nguyen are pictured with Gutsy Gus headed for a Rural High School Visit at Dubbo in June 2011.

Victorian clubs WIILDFIRE, OUTLOOK and NOMAD caught up during Face2Face in Melbourne during March.

A massage station was set up at the RHUUWS Clinical Skills Night, October 2011.

WARRIAHS members took part in a successful health expo.

TROHPIQ Skills Day

StARRH members gathered for a dinner event in Darwin.

WAALHIIBE President Katherine Humphreys and SPINRPHEX Nursing Rep Christine Zec with Wallace the Wallaby at Curtin University O’Day in February.


WILDFIRE ran a Rural Simulation Activity in February — written by WILDFIRE for the 1st year medical student’s transition program. WILDFIRE Council co-chair John Clark (black shirt) and Travis Taggert (orange shirt), with WILDFIRE Membership officer were teaching the students how to perform a ‘log roll’.


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