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COOEE! 2009 Co-Chair Report 2009 is turning out to be a busy and exciting year for the NRHSN and we feel privileged to be involved with such an enthusiastic and dynamic group of students! Welcome to all of our new members from each of the Rural Health Clubs, Website photo competition (November 2008) runner up photo Photo: Courtesy of Mel Olding, ARMS

In this Issue: • NURHC 2009 • Members Stories • Indigenous Festivals • Conferences of National Significance • Rural High School Visits • NRHSN/AMSA Bursary Reports • Portfolio Reports • Rural Health Club Reports • Alumni interview

we hope your time as a member both of your Rural Health Club and the NRHSN family turns out to be a fun and inspiring journey. We’d also like to welcome to the NRHSN Council, all of the new representatives, we’re looking forward to working with you this year in furthering the Network’s objectives. The NRHSN has continued its growth with the recent addition of the BUSHFIRE Rural Health Club from Bond University in Queensland. We welcome the members of BUSHFIRE to the NRHSN and look forward to working with them this year and in the future. This year, we’ve hit the ground running and we still can’t believe we’re already more than a quarter of the way through 2009. Executive Handover took place at the end of January and two days of planning, brainstorming and teamwork activities have set us up well to guide and support the Network through this busy year. We have begun a process aimed at streamlining communication and direction within the NRHSN Council. A new Community Awareness and Advocacy Portfolio (which encompasses the NRHA Senior and Junior Liaison Officers, ARHEN Liaison Officer and REFA Liaison Officer) has come into

the future of rural health

April 2009

Cooee! April 2009

2009 Co-Chair Report

Welcome to Cooee! ...Continued from page 1

being, allowing greater cooperation between these positions. This has been supported by a policy working group made up of all NRHSN Council Liaison Officers. This group has already suggested areas of development and advocacy for the NRHSN to consider and has really opened the floodgates of communication between our Liaison Officers. The Indigenous Health portfolio has been expanded and our Liaison Officers within this portfolio have been working hard to promote Indigenous Health with their projects gaining momentum within Council. Two Rural High School Visit Officers and two Indigenous Festival Officers have now taken up their positions, which has been a great step forward in terms of providing some structure and consistency for these key NRHSN projects. Other Network activities we are hoping to expand upon this year are in the areas of media, public relations, publications and sponsorship. We are currently seeking members to assist us in these areas. Our first Face2Face meeting of the year took place in Melbourne in mid-March and was attended by the Senior NRHSN Representative and President (or equivalent) of each Club, as well as the Portfolio Liaison Officers, Executive and Staff. With over 70 students in attendance it was a dynamic couple of days and we

were very privileged to have some great presentations and workshops from external speakers. The conference calendar is already looking quite busy this year and we have a number of students attending conferences across Australia including the NRHA Conference in Cairns in May. The NRHSN has also been busy planning and organising the National Universities Rural Health Conference which will be held in Cairns in July, it should be a fantastic three days with some inspiring speakers, energising workshops and fun social activities being lined up. This year’s theme, ‘Rural Health: Diverse Landscapes, Endless Opportunities’ encompasses two of the most important aspects of rural health, the fact that it is so diverse and that there are so many opportunities out there for those who seek them, such as our members! We’re looking forward to the rest of 2009, and look forward to hopefully meeting

The National Rural Health Students’ Network is supported by financial assistance from the Australian Government.

some of you out there during the year! Yours in rural health, Luke Smith and Fiona Langelaan NRHSN Co-Chairs 2009

to the “powers that be”, it is important that

through placements and scholarships and

we all work together to collect real data, that

working with training providers to improve

can be used to underpin the kind of research

them; ensuring that the student voice is heard

that will spark the interest and action of

through development of student policy and

government and education bodies. This is

position statements; helping to increase the

what it will take to make a real difference

future number of tertiary health students by

to the health workforce in rural and remote

promoting rural health careers to younger


students in rural areas; and maintaining

Your Conference

links with your Alumni who are now part of

We very much look forward to attending

the health workforce – we can learn a lot

National Policy News

your upcoming conference in Cairns in July!

from their experiences. It is with the right

The news is: there is no news...but watch this

Following from the success of last years’

data and information generated by your

space! The future outcomes that will result

conference, I am sure that you will make

Council, that your National Program Manager,

from current evaluation (the National Health

good use of the opportunity to demonstrate

Amanda, can continue to co-ordinate external

Workforce Taskforce, the National Primary

your passion and dedication to rural health,

communications and build the profile of the

Healthcare Strategy, the National Health and

rural communities and the rural way of life. I

network – this is what your network needs for

Hospitals Reform Commission and the review

encourage you to enjoy the networking and

the future.

of all rural health programs by the Office of

skill development, as well as communicating

Enjoy your year ahead and I’ll see you in

Rural Health) are certainly exciting for students,

loud and clear about the environments,


particularly in regard to clinical training, but

resources, and support you need in order

won’t be clear until the second half of this year.

to keep you on a rural pathway following

Rural Health Workforce Australia

The budget will be announced in May, which

graduation – we will be listening!

Kim Webber - CEO

is likely to give us some indication about the

Your Future

Litsa Kane - Operations Manager

future direction of health in Australia, so stay

There are many organisations and programs

Mandy Leveratt - Policy Officer


that are working towards increasing the

Jeremy Maddox - Data Analyst

Your Network

rural health workforce and improving the

Linda O’Meara - Finance Manager

It has been fantastic to see the continued

health outcomes of people living in rural and

Estilita Vaz - Administration & Executive Asst.

growth of the NRHSN, now with 29 Rural

remote areas. While it is difficult to draw

Health Clubs around the country and over

direct conclusions about the impact of many

National Rural Health Students’ Network

8000 members – there is no doubt that we

of these programs, it is important for the

Aamnda Hall - National Program Manager

have great potential for understanding what

future of your network that you continue to

Linda Nink - Senior Project Officer

the future health professional of Australia are

strengthen your key initiatives:- promoting all

Kerryn Eccleston - Project Officer

looking for to support them in forging a rural

things “rural” among health students through

Jane jamieson - Project support Officer

career pathway. In order to get your message

your clubs; promoting rural clinical training

NRHSN & Rural Health Workforce Australia Dr Kim Webber, CEO

Health, Nursing, Indigenous Health and

experiences. Clubs that came on board last

Community and Advocacy) make it clear

year are building strong foundations for growth

that the Face2Face meeting in Melbourne in

and success in 2009, while our “older” Clubs

March has the NRHSN Council very focussed,

are coming up with events and initiatives that

motivated and inspired! They are an important

get bigger and better every year! It is great

As always, the year is off to a flying start by

link between our members and professional

to see so many Clubs with plans for inter-club

April and this issue of Cooee! proves it! The

organisations and government and will put

involvement – networking at its finest!

Executive report shows how well-entrenched

forward the student voice and help to shape

Placement stories and Alumni experiences

the new team are in their roles for 2009 and

your future workplace in rural and remote

provide a sense of the realities of a rural life

they are using their experience in the Network


and career. At the same time challenging

to expand and develop Council to achieve great

The Co-Convenors of NURHC have been working

and rewarding, inspiring and eye opening – it

things this year.

hard and their update gives us a sneak peek at

seems the opportunities really are as endless

This issue really showcases the many

what we have in store for us in July – it seems

as the landscape is diverse!

individuals and organisations that contribute

the conference is shaping up to be the premier

We hope you enjoy this edition of Cooee!

to the work that the NRHSN is doing all

event on the NRHSN Calendar!

and look forward to hearing about the many

over the country. Our Rural Health Clubs,

Reports from our 29 Clubs indicate that it’s all

events, rural high school visits, indigenous

individual members, Alumni and professional

in the planning! With many Clubs inducting

festivals, national conferences and projects that

organisations are stretched from Townsville to

new Executive teams and dazzling the new 1st

will be happening throughout the N++etwork

Bega, from Broome to Wollongbar, from Port

year students to help boost membership, the

between now and October.

Augusta to Katherine, from Echuca to Derby.

stage seems set for another year of exciting

Reports from the portfolios (Medical, Allied

rural health promotion and rural appreciation

Get Connected! Editorial

Linda, Kerryn, Jane and Amanda

Cooee! April 2009 (see photo of Marty at the Muster!).

bar/dinner tab

Outside of his interests in rural health and

for 1st prize. In

HOPE4HEALTH, Marty has a keen interest in

return we held

producing films and making a movie titled ‘Go

the Sweep at

You Good Thing’ with his brother is on his 5

the same pub

Marty is in his fourth year of medicine at

year plan! Fitting this in with this other plans

on the eve of

Griffith Univeristy on the Gold Coast, QLD

of finishing uni, surviving internship & getting

the first World

and Treasurer of one of our newest recruits,

on the Psych training program will keep him

Cup match.

HOPE4HEALTH. Originally from Melbourne,


By that stage,

Marty has made his way up the east coast of

Marty’s words of wisdom for students thinking

everyone had

Australia studying Science at Sydney University

about a rural career are ‘Get involved in your

caught ‘World

before arriving on the Gold Coast.

Rural Health Club! You’ll find out about all the

Cup Fever’ and

Marty joined H4H with the intention of

best opportunities.’ And for those Clubs that

it turned out to

improving their Club and making it relevant

are looking at fundraising opportunities, Marty

be a huge night! We sold two lots of teams

for more students, which is certainly a big

suggests the following: In 2006 when H4H was

and also ran a raffle and ended turning $0

ambition with a membership base of over

just starting our fundraising initiatives we ran a

into $3K so it was an awesome result... The

400. And describes his best NRHSN experience

World Cup Soccer Sweep and it worked just like

World Cup is coming around again in 2010 so

as getting HOPE4HEALTH on board as the

a Melbourne Cup Sweep. It cost $50 to buy a

it is something we will definitely be keen to

Networks 27th Club in 2008, while his favourite

ticket in the draw and PBL groups pooled their

do again. It’s something that could easily be

Rural Health Club experience has been The

money to get a piece of the action. We asked

replicated at other RHCs, get in touch with H4H

Midnight Muster in 2008 and again in 2009

a local pub to sponsor the Sweep with a $200

if you want more details...

Best rural experience? Only one answer – the

last NURHC – who else could make rural heath

next one !!! Perhaps seeing Rural Appeciation


Weekend grow from 2 universities to 11

The thing you don’t want the world know?

universities over only a one year period. To

I have a husband who will never go rural, but I

see the feedback from students who have

am still working on it.

Favourite SHARP memory? At my age, who

been on their very first rural experience.

Words of wisdom for others thinking about a

could remember !!! Actually seeing SHARP

Why are SHARP the best RHC? SHARP is part of

rural career or wanting to get involved in their

come back from the dead and become one

the best student network in Australia – National

RHC? JUST DO IT !!! Do not sit back and wait

of the strongest clubs at the University of

Rural Health Students’ Network. We are only

a year to join your RHC – do it now. There are

Wollongong and also now one of the strongest

one Club of 29 “bestest” Clubs in Australia. I

so many opportunities that students have,

clubs in the NRHSN.

believe that we need to all work together at

once they become members, eg. Conferences,

What does your job involve? I’ve got the best

a national level if we are going to make the

RHSV’s, Indigenous festivals and the list goes

job at the uni. I am the Administrator for

difference in getting better health care out

on and on. These are all hands on and you

SHARP which now has over 600 members but

to rural and remote areas. SHARP continues

will experience learning opportunities you will

also I spend around 5 weeks every year going

to grow and grow, and this could not happen

never gain in a classroom. You will have so

rural to recruit students into health degrees.

without the bestest, most active and fun

many opportunities

I see SHARP as a little community within


to network with other

the university where students support each

What keeps you occupied in your spare time?

disciplines – medicine,

other and SHARP provides an integral part of

I actually have a husband and two beautiful

nursing and allied

activities that further enhance their student

grown up children….and a puppy!!

health. Remember,


What’s the one thing you want the world to

you can’t go rural

How long have you been involved with SHARP?

know about you? My passion is to get more of

alone – you will burn

Not long enough – hopefully SHARP will get

our students not only going rural but staying

out – you need to all

another few good years out of me.

rural. I forgot, the only thing came out of the

work together.

submitted by Mel Olding from ARMS which is

09. Make sure you continue to check it out for

now on the homepage.

all the latest news from the NRHSN.

Updates are occuring to the website almost

We’ve had 200,000 page views since the last

daily from RHC pages, Portfolios, Indigenous

edition of Cooee! It’s fantastic to see so many

Festivals, Events and information about NURHC

of you checking out!

Our Members Marty Brester HOPE4HEALTH Teasurer

RHC Administrator Kay Kent SHARP

NRHSN Website Thank you to everyone who submitted photos to update our website last year, we received some amazing photos and quite a few of them have been used for banners on the website, including the winning photo


Rural Health: Diverse Landscapes, Endless Opportunities Cairns, QLD 23-25 July A very big hello from sunny north Queensland! Preparations for NURHC

opportunities for all of us who want to lead Australia to better health!

are well underway and most clubs have submitted their abstracts and applications (of a very high standard – congratulations). For those of you

The conference will be held at the Brothers League Club and all students

thinking...what is this NURHC thing they keep talking about?? Here is

will be accommodated at the Cairns Colonial Club. Already, the academic

some background.

program is shaping up to include a range of speakers from all disciplines, different areas of Australia and a wide range of experience in clinical

NURHC is the annual conference of the National Rural Health Students’

work, research and policy development. The social program is also

Network. Each year, the conference is held in a different regional area.

looking very promising with a beach theme night, Golden Windmills and

(check out for info and photos from

formal dinner at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

past conferences). This year, approx 300 students from all 29 of our rural health clubs will attend the conference. In addition, we will have

NURHC is primarily funded by the Department of Health and Ageing,

numerous key stakeholders, sponsors, alumni and guest speakers/

however, we are also seeking sponsorship from corporate organisations

presenters. Delegates will participate in three days of keynote speakers,

for the conference to boost the number of students able to attend. We

interactive panel sessions, skills sessions, tours of local services, student

are also encouraging clubs to think about other funding options. Have

presentations, sight-seeing and fantastic social and networking events.

you thought about fundraising to send more members or seeking sponsorship through local organisiations? Registrations will open shortly

The theme of the conference, Rural Health: Diverse Landscapes, Endless

and it would be great to see additional members from each Club in

Opportunities, encompasses the great diversity in rural and remote

attendance. Please contact us for more information on how to make it

health in Australia. Much like the variety of landscapes, colours and


natural beauties across this wide country, there is also a great variety of health care opportunities that exist in Australia - rural, remote, coastal,

For more information and updates, keep an eye on the NURHC webpage

Indigenous, tropical, regional and visiting. This theme resonates with the

on the NRSHN site; We’re looking forward to

multi-disciplinary nature of the NRHSN - one a small number of groups

seeing you in Cairns in July.

who are truly “Multi-D”. This theme acknowledges that Rural Health has a different meaning for everyone and also that a rural career path holds

Heather Hanks and Sarah Farlow (NURHC Co-convenors 2009)

Cooee! April 2009

Conferences of National Significance (CoNS)

professional skills. Networking opportunities, both with other students and health professionals have been made the most of and experiences and knowledge of rural health have increased for members who have had conference funding applications approved.

Members have been getting out and about

Feedback has been incredibly positive and the

to a wide variety of conferences during this

passion and enthusiasm shown by you is truly

financial year. Over 60 members (from 20 out


of our our 29 Rural Health Clubs) have attended conferences including: the SARRAH conference

The number of members applying for CoNS

in Yeppoon QLD; WONCA Asia Pacific conference

funding has increased dramatically over the

“The SARRAH Conference was a fantastic

in Melbourne; the CRANA conference in Cairns

past 12 months which has meant that we

opportunity to network with allied health

QLD and Australian College of Ambulance

have had to limit the number of conferences

professionals. As a student I was able to discuss

Professionals conference in Melbourne VIC.

available to be funded so please check out the

the issues facing rural and remote allied health

22 members are currently busy gearing up

CoNS calendar and guidelines at

such as the retention, remoteness and a lack of

to attend the NRHA National Rural Health before applying for

resources in remote areas. I was able to seek

Conference in Cairns in May.

your funding. While you’re on the website

advice on applying for jobs for the future and

you should also read through some of the

received some recommendations on where to

Many members attending conferences have

reports written by students highlighting their

work and how to go about starting my career.”

given presentations further developing their

experiences at conferences!

Emily Jordan, LARHC – wineries, cheese, blueberry picking, yadda

Our Alumni

yadda… who could ask for more?!” If you weren’t doing what you’re doing

Chris Bryg, MIRAGE Occupational Therapist

what would you be doing? “I’d be on stage, somewhere, singing. Or maybe atop a

A placement to Bega in his first year which was

mountain, somewhere.”

his first trip on his own outside of Sydney got

Best NRHSN experience? “Hard to say – all

Chris thinking about going rural. President of

the National Undergraduate Rural Health

MIRAGE in 2000, Chris is now an occupational

Conferences I went to have some kind of fond

therapist working in the Technology Access

memory. The 1999 Wagga conference must

Service of ILC Tas (Independent Living Centre) in Launceston. “I see people of all ages and

AUSTRALIA Tasmania and have been involved

with any impairment or disability and find

since I moved here. I am currently the Elections

solutions enabling them to perform computer-

Campaign Coordinator for the electorate of

based tasks, operate appliances or other

Bass for the Tasmanian Greens. Going out

home features, and to communicate. A day

for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or coffee with

might involve working with teachers in an

friends is a favourite thing to do. I try to go

early childhood intervention service helping a

bushwalking when I can. I’d love to spend

child with cerebral palsy to develop physical

more time in my garden but this just doesn’t

and cognitive skills which will enable them

happen! Although, I’m happy I found my

to access the curriculum using technology;

colchiums amongst the weeds.

setting up a case conference at a school to

A favourite part of my job is that I get to travel

discuss the literacy support needs of a student

around Tasmania and get out of the office.

using software; helping a person with motor

I really enjoy technology and the intricacies

neurone disease to keep in contact with family

of making it work for someone. It’s such a

and friends via email, adapting their computer

problem solving process and so many factors

access technology as their needs change.

influence success that it’s a never-ending

In my spare time?!!! Well I have got myself

learning curve. Technology itself is never THE

involved in many ways in the community over

answer. Launceston is a fantastically located

the last 6 years… I have sung in local choirs,

and sized place. As a city it has what you need

performed in a musical (Blood Brothers) with

– amenities, arts/culture, opportunity to get

the Launceston Musical Society, I take singing

involved in things. As a regional area it means

lessons, performed in concerts and recitals,

you are 5 mins from out of town, within close

and will be performing in my first opera in

proximity to world-class bushwalking and

July, Die Fledermaus. I am president of OT

natural wonders, and fabulous local produce

have been the best as I was on the conference committee.” Best RHC experience? “Rural High School Visits were always the best. My favourite was when we organized a trip with other NSW RHCs to Bega/Merimbula area. But most memorable RHC experience was spraining my ankle in the first minutes of a bush dance at a NSW RHC executive weekend. All the med students stood around what felt like forever arguing over who should ‘treat’ me first! It was probably a nursing student who actually did something ;-) Couldn’t help that jibe!” Words of wisdom for others thinking about a rural career? “Think of a stint somewhere as an adventure. You might only intend to go for a year or so, that’s fine. If you stay longer, that’s even better. But it’s your life and your career and individual circumstances are different. Don’t feel guilty about working in the city for a while before moving away either. But the key is to find a place or places that offer things you might like to do, and get involved in the community.”

Indigenous Festivals NRHSN involvement in the fabulous Vibe Alive,

back to us about the festivals they’re planning

Wakakirri and Deadly Days festivals is on again

on attending. We’ve met with up the Vibe Alive

in 2009! We’d love to hear if there’s a local

team and have been in contact with the other

community Festival that you can get involved

festivals organisers, so we’re doing our best

in too, like the Kullarri NAIDOC Festival up in

to make the process a bit more streamlined

Broome or Ti-Tree Festival in Alice Springs.

and ensure appropriate numbers are sent to

Remember the NRHSN requires each club to

each festival. We want to make sure a good

attend at least one festival, so it good to get

range of experience is spread out between

organised nice and early.

festivals too, to make attending less daunting

Dea d Wo ly Day llon gba s 2008 r, N SW

for the newbies! Festivals are a fantastic opportunity for club members to get out to a rural or remote

We will be in contact with you about the

community and see an aspect that you might

festivals coming up soon regarding numbers

not get to on a placement or at uni. As well

(some festivals are very limited in the

as passing on your enthusiasm for rural health

number of members we can take, so please

to local kids in a entertaining way, running

consider alternatives to ensure you get the

healthy lifestyle or health career workshops,

most out of your attendance), transport,

you’ll get to meet the members of other

accommodation and other logistics, so look

clubs and health disciplines. This year we’re

forward to hearing from us!

Vibe Alive 2008 Coonamble, NSW

also working on getting members out to visit

“The Indigenous Festivals are a great idea - a

local health care facilities as well as the local

If you’re a student who’s interested to get


chance to change some preconceptions the

involved, contact your Rural Health Club and

kids had on school and university, such as the

check out the NRHSN website pack at We’re Frankie and Maria, the new NRHSN

different pathways they could go through. It for our

Indigenous Festivals Officers.

was a wonderful opportunity to listen to the

tips on getting out there! Email us at festivals@

kids knowledge and hopes for the future, and if you’ve got any questions or

for NRHSN students to experience a rural trip.”

suggestions. We’d love to hear from you!

Teena Downton, SHARP

this is a new

Because position, we really appreciate the clubs who

Finally, make sure these dates are in your diary:

have got

May •

Vibe Alive Coonamble, NSW, 27-28th

July •

Wakakirri Broken Hill, NSW, 10th

Vibe Alive Mildura, VIC, 29-30th


al, 8 Festiv i r r i k D 200 Waka Region QL ver eld Ri fi m o lo


Vibe Alive Port Augusta, SA, 5-6th

Wakakirri Katherine, NT, 7th

Vibe Alive Kalgoorlie, WA, 12-13th

Quiz! An open book exam

September •

Deadly Days Kingscliff, NSW, 1-2nd

Deadly Days Grafton, NSW, 2-3rd

Deadly Days Port Macquarie, NSW, 3-4th

Wakakirri Ceduna SA, 11th

Vibe Alive Weipa, QLD, 17-18th

6. Which Club’s name means rural in Latin? 7 Where is the 2009 South Australian Vibe Alive Festival being held? 8. Where was RAW (Rural Appreciation Weekend) held in 2008?

1. Where will NURHC be held this year? 2. What does RHSV stand for? 3. How many Rural Health Clubs start with the letter R? 4. Which 3 Rural Health Clubs organise “Campfire”? 5. Which Rural Health Club is hosting NURHC 09?

9. Which Club’s logo includes a gecko? 10. Which Clubs do our three NRHSN Exec members belong to? a) FURHS, RHINO & KRASH b) ARMS, RUSTICA & SPINRPHEX c) WAALHIIBE, AURHA & OUTLOOK Answers on the back cover.

Cooee! April 2009

NRHSN/AMSA Bursaries The NRHSN teamed up with AMSA in 2008 offering $1,000 burasaries to Nursing, Allied Health and Medical students to undertake a rural elective and also $1,000 prizes for an Indigenous Health essay. Joni Nissen, TROHPIQ (Allied Health/Nursing) and and Jonathon Epstein (Medical) were awarded the Indigenous Health Essay Awards. Brooke Saunders, AURHA (Allied Health), Sally Grainger, StARRH (Nurisng), Jodie Delanty, RUSTICA (Medical) and Geordan Shannon, BREAATHHE (Medical) were awarded the elective bursaries. Here are some of their stories.

Brooke Saunders Jodie Delanty Allied Health Placement

Medical Placement

Jonathon Epstein Medical Indigenous Essay

“You have to make a choice”, Dr L was telling Henry, an Aboriginal man in his late-20s, sitting on the hospital bed in dusty brown jeans and shirt. “You have to tell me how you want me to do this operation. I can do it either way; it’s your choice. You just have to let me know”. In January 2007 I completed an elective at Katherine, a flat and humid town 3 hours south of Darwin, where I spent most of my time in the Emergency

During my final year of Oral Health at the University of Adelaide, I elected to go on a country placement to Port Augusta. Undertaking a Health Promotion Project with a classmate, Amelia Candy. Our project was named, “Katiti Pulya”, when translated from Pitjantjatjara means “Good Teeth”. The project aimed to help improve the oral health of Indigenous children. We visited local primary schools, young parenting groups, the local hospital and the special needs day care unit, providing targeted oral health education sessions to children, parents, carers and nurses. We shared our accommodation with medical, occupational therapist, podiatry and nursing students. It was great making friends with other rurally oriented health students. We spent our weekends enjoying the local community, watching the Grand Final Football game. We climbed the old Water Tower, perused the pubs and sampled some local ‘Copley Wobbly’, which as it suggests, causes blurry vision and wobbly legs! During the week days we rode our bikes to and from clinical sessions. I love working in the country. I came from the country and although the city has its enjoyments, nothing beats the view from The Dutchman’s Stern or the passion of a local footy grand final. Even if you’re not thinking about going rural after graduation, go on a country placement, broaden your horizons and at the least, it will make you a more rounded practitioner!...

I was fortunate enough to complete my 5th year elective with the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Port Augusta under the supervision of Dr. Andy Killcross. I was with the RFDS for 4 weeks & spent time doing retrieval/evacuation flights & also clinic flights to outback Australia. Some towns we visited are very small, with populations of around 100, staffed by a registered nurse who does the majority of the consults, with the RFDS visiting every 1-4 weeks to do a clinic. Any serious conditions in-between clinics are retrieved by the RFDS and transported to Port Augusta or Adelaide Hospitals. One of the best learning experiences of this elective was my exposure to Indigenous health. This was a real eye-opener for me & not an area I had previously experienced. Indigenous health in outback Australia creates a real challenge to the treating practitioner, mostly because of the burden of chronic disease, communication barriers, lifestyle factors & cultural differences. I had a fantastic time flying around the countryside gaining an appreciation of rural health and seeing some interesting medical conditions. It certainly is a job that’s different every day and you never know where you will be flying next, with my biggest day having 8 flights. This was a highlight of my time at medical school so far, and I have a much better understanding or rural health and what it means in Australia having experienced it first hand...

You can read the full reports & essays on the NRHSN website

Department of the local hospital. About 75% of patients were Aboriginal, & they came in with problems largely related to drinking, fighting & to just poorly looking after themselves. Henry was admitted because of a fight a few days back where he’d cut one of his fingers. By the time we saw him it was infected. Dr L had to cut it open to release the pus, but he’d given Henry the choice: should he inject local anaesthetic into the hand or should he block the nerves in the arm? He explained the risks and benefits to Henry, and then waited for a response, urging the patient to “just tell me which way you’d prefer”...

Joni Nissen

Allied Health/Nursing Indigenous Essay The inaccessibility of dental care for many communities constitutes a strong need for a preventative approach to oral health. Good oral hygiene should be taught to children from an early age, to ensure appropriate habits are maintained throughout life. This may be implemented by developing programs in the schools curriculum, so students are aware of the aspects involved with disease prevention & thus the importance of basic oral hygiene, as well as introducing the protective benefits of fluoride to the community either through water fluoridation or a program implemented in schools. Having travelled extensively throughout Northern and Central Australia, seeing the expansive disposition of this wide brown land and the isolation in which some communities exist, it is no wonder Aboriginal dental health is in such a poor condition. So come on Australia! Let’s focus on the future and preventative dentistry and try to stop kids like Jambin becoming edentulous at thirty!!... Photos: Brooke Saunders with Amelia Candy on her rural placement in Port Augusta


The Rural High School Visit (RHSV) program is

entail groups of

available to help RHCs and individual students

Rural Health Club

organise and run RHSVs. A great starting

members talking

point is the website (

to small groups

as well as the RHSV Kit that all RHCs should

of high school

have access to. In addition, the 2009 RHSV

students about

Officers, Lana Prout (WILDFIRE) and Amanda

an NRHSN initiative run nationally by every

health careers, pathways to such careers, and

Francis (SHARP), along with Kerryn Eccleston

Rural Health Club. Clubs visit rural and remote

scholarships available as well as more general

in the NRHSN Office, are also available to

high schools in their state or territory to

topics like time management, stress reduction

assist students with any RHSV-related issues

promote health careers to the students of these

techniques and tips for moving away from

including RHSV reporting requirements and

schools. RHSVs are a significant contribution to

home in order to study.

helping to organise RHSVs involving multiple RHCs. Throughout this year, the RHSV Officers

the future of Australia’s rural health workforce since it is hoped that some of these school

Besides helping to promote rural health careers

will be contacting each RHC in order to assist

students will go on to become future health-

to the next generation of students, the visits

them with their RHSV activities for 2009. RHCs

students and RHC/NRHSN members before

are also a lot of fun since most visits also

are also strongly encouraged to submit details

eventually becoming the next generation of

include skills sessions involving such activities

of any planned RHSVs to

rural health professionals. This concept is based

as plastering or blood pressure measuring

so that they can be promoted on the RHSV

on research that indicates that rural origin

amongst others which are enjoyed by the high


students are more likely to return to a rural

school students and their teachers, as well as

setting to practice after graduating.

the RHC members.

Although individual RHSVs are tailored to suit

RHSVs are easy to organise and a lot of fun to

to get involved! Contact the RHSV Rep at your

the needs of each school, generally visits

be involved with. There are many resources

club, email or visit the

NRHSN members have fantastic experiences while participating in RHSVs – so make sure


A Rural Placement Marianne Dowsett, MIRAGE In February 2009 I was welcomed into the home of Dr Tilak Dissanayake, his wife Donna,

having to rely more on signs and symptoms as

and two children, Hamish (4) and Eromi (2)

opposed to investigations to decide a course of

as part of the Rural Medical Family Network’s

treatment for a patient.

Working HUGS program. I learnt that as well

As Dr Tilak had considerable surgical experience

spent some very enjoyable afternoons in the

as being Coolah’s only GP Tilak was also the

I was also lucky enough to assist for a day

community pool with the children as one

VMO for the Coolah Hospital, for which he was

in his ‘lumps and bumps’ clinic where he

thing I never quite adjusted to was how high

on call for many evenings and weekends. As

took biopsies of suspicious moles, froze

the temperatures were! I ate out at the local

I accompanied him around the next day I saw

precancerous lesions and removed more

bowling club, went to the Binnaway Races,

what a full and varied day he has as a rural

sinister moles. This again emphasised the

visited the Dissanayake’s farm and had a lovely

practitioner. I enjoyed how people weren’t

breadth of services rural practitioners can

evening out at a vineyard in Mudgee! I had a

so rushed and I found all the patients very

provide without which people may have to

fantastic time and cannot thank Tilak and Donna

welcoming. However I was also exposed to

travel well over an hour away to receive.

enough for hosting me, the town of Coolah for

the challenges of rural practice which mainly

As well as spending time at the hospital and

welcoming me or Liz Wragge for organising the

involved lack of resources, which meant

GP surgery I got a taste of country life. I


Cooee! April 2009

Medical Matthew Van Zetten, Medical Representative The Medical Portfolio has completed several projects since the last edition of Cooee. Most notable of these were the National Health and Hospitals Reform Committee (NHHRC) submission in late 2008 and the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Medical Students Association. We hope this leads to a strong working relationship between our two organisations as we continue with and expand upon existing joint projects such as the NRHSN/AMSA rural bursaries. The medical team for 2009 was elected at our recent Face to Face meeting in Melbourne, and I congratulate our new Liaison Officers: Teena Downton (Junior Medical LO), Jasmine Banner (Medical Rural Bonded Scholarships LO), Jordan Whicker (John Flynn Placement Program LO), Robyn Silcock (Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand LO), Soo Yee Naidoo (Bonded Medical Places Scheme LO), Andrew Tierney (Australian Medical Students Association LO). Our seven member team represents 5 universities from 4 different states, and we hope to be on the pulse when it comes to issues affecting medical students and rural health issues all around the country. LO’s represent the NRHSN on national advisory committees, and in some cases are the only student voice that these stakeholders have direct access to. As such they are a fantastic avenue for providing feedback to these organisations. If you have any suggestions for improving scholarships, or complaints regarding your own experiences, please feel free to contact the relevant LO. Email addresses can be found on the Medical Portfolio page on the NRHSN website. In addition to our regular liaising with stakeholders, this year we plan to work closely with the other portfolios to create position statements on pressing issues, such as the NHHRC interim and final reports, as well as revising dated NRHSN policies. Our report in the current edition of the RACGP’s rural faculty newsletter ‘Bush Alert’ was written by Steven Peterson from the ANU about GP term in Tumbarumba, NSW. The article can be read at If you have your own story about a rural placement experience that you would like published, email it to for consideration.

NRHSN Portfolios

Allied Health Cristen Fleming & Ashley Willock, Co-Allied Health representatives Organisation and stakeholder relations has been the major focus of 2009 so far for the AH team. Along with the exec, we have been making a concerted effort to improve our stakeholder numbers and active communication. SARRAH and NAPSA are two well established and supportive stakeholders with whom which the portfolio has a good working rapport, to these we hope to add stakeholders from OT, physio, optometry, Allied Health Australia and radiography just to name a few. Along with increasing our professional stakeholder communication, we are carrying on the AH student rep working party started last year to allow for more informed and accurate representation of our peers. With this professional/student input we hope to optimise what allied health has to offer as well as highlighting the difficulties we face as rural/ remote clinicians. Along with most of you, we attended F2F earlier in March held in Melbourne. It was a very productive and thought provoking weekend (accompanied by some truly fabulous food!) that not only inspired most to do better but also equipped us with the essential skills to do so. F2F also saw two new juniors elected Daniel Mahoney and Clarissa Rentsch whom we warmly (and gratefully) welcome and a slight restructuring of the portfolio positions. Co-senior and co-juniors remain however the SARRAH liaison will (as of the end of ’09) be a separate position (previously held by a senior) and the NAPSA rep will now be a Pharmacy Liaison Rep, acting as the link between us, NAPSA and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. With a full team, 2009 looks set to be a busy year. With NURHC approaching a recent TC saw a collaborative effort made by all portfolios, facilitated by the exec, in order to develop some common goals and objectives to achieve them, again with better communication and representation in mind. We are also in the process of discussing and preparing for NURHC as an individual portfolio. All in all, a very productive 2009 so far with some solid ground work to ensure a very productive 2009!

Indigenous Health Dianne Thorp & Mitch Sharrock Co-Indigenous Health reps The Indigenous Portfolio is alive and kicking! We’re excited about this year and look forward to making a firm foundation via baby steps to get this portfolio back in action. Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander health issues are currently at the forefront of public discussion, decisions are being made about future health reform and ways of “Closing the Gap” in the life expectancy between Indigenous and non – indigenous Australians. As the upcoming health professionals of Australia we need to become involved in ensuring future equity of health outcomes for all Australians. Indigenous Health Main objectives: 1.

Recruitment of Indigenous students

into all tertiary health science courses 2.

Retention of Indigenous students

by means of ongoing support throughout the duration of their degrees 3.

Development of Indigenous health

and cultural awareness as core curriculum in all tertiary health courses Our overall goal is to increase the Indigenous health workforce, made up of both Indigenous and non- Indigenous health professionals, which will ultimately improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians. It is important for a firm foundation for this Portfolio to be laid, therefore we are in the process of recruiting and involving our RHC ‘Indigenous Health Representatives’ we need people power to get things done. We are encouraging applications for these positions in clubs both in a senior and junior capacity. Indigenous Health Portfolio has a huge task ahead and we need the help of like minded health students all over Australia to make a difference in “Closing the Gap”, please consider applying on a local level as an ‘Indigenous Health Representative’ for your RHC, or on a national level as a ‘Junior Indigenous Health Portfolio Representative’. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us on Hope to hear from you! Indigenous Health Portfolio Senior Representatives, Mitch Sharrock and Dianne Thorp

and Advocacy; Assisting the “Liaison Group” to

article on the NRHSN and the importance of

begin the creation of key position statements

multi-disciplinary team work from a nursing

for the NRHSN on behalf of RHC students,

perspective to the Australian Nursing Journal

which will facilitate a standardised NRHSN


response to all manner of health issues and

The Nursing Portfolio team plan to keep

The Nursing Portfolio team for 2009, consisting

represent a united health student voice to

charging ahead in ’09. Here is a preview

of Sally Grainger (Senior) and Katherine

health and government bodies; Re-connecting

where we want to head next: Explore

Radosevich (Junior), has continued work in

with CRANAplus (peak rural & remote nursing

expressions of interest in creating Student

various areas and contributed to several NRHSN

body) has confirmed a willingness of this

Nursing Representatives for the peak

projects already in 2009.

organisation to have student representation

Nursing Bodies/Stakeholders; Approaching

Nursing Portfolio Activities since the last

at the CRANAplus Conference in ’09 and give

stakeholders to fund more student nurses to

edition in October ’08 have included: Attending

voice to student placement experiences in rural

attend their conferences as Rural Health Club

the NRHSN Face 2 Face in March ‘09; Creating

and remote health settings via the “Outback

(RHC) members; Negotiate discounts for RHC

a comprehensive nursing contact list for all

Flyer” newsletter each quarter; “Winnows”

members when joining/becoming members

of the Rural Health Clubs around Australia;

the Nursing-sub group has had a face lift &

of stakeholders organisations; Publish student

Contributing to the first “Liaison Group”

moved over to Facebook - join up now! It is

placement stories/experiences in a variety of

teleconference in March ’09 comprising all the

hoped this new platform will form the basis for

publications, especially those of peak Nursing

Senior, Junior and Specialist advisors who form

presentation of student nursing opinions on all

Bodies, (send in your placement stories so we

the NRHSN Council Portfolios: Allied Health,

manner of current nursing issues (note: thanks

can create a “nursing placement experience

Medicine, Nursing, Indigenous, Community

to James Bonello, 2008 Nursing Senior, for

library”); Continue to review RHC members’

creating the Facebook site); Submission of an

applications for conference sponsorship (CoNS).

The NRHA is the

rural health policy and the latest evidence

peak body working to improve the health of

based nursing, allied health and medicine in

Australians in rural and remote areas. It is

the context of rural health. There are also great

comprised of 28 Member Bodies including the

networking opportunities so this conference is

NRHSN, representing health consumers, service

a must for the future rural health professional.

providers and other organisations in non-

Having an awareness of the rural health

‘What rural health issue are you passionate

metropolitan areas.

industry in a broader sense is worthwhile as it

about? Is it the shortage of rural health

One of the major functions of the NRHA is

prepares rural health students for entry into the

professionals in your home town? or the lack

find a consensus amongst its member bodies

workforce. Having an informed opinion about

of support you get on rural placement? What

on rural health issues and put these ideas to

rural health issues allows students to better

factors are going to influence your decision to

government in the form of position statements

navigate early in their professional careers,

choose a rural career? and why is the health of

and media releases. It is hoped that the

will also allow students to be more confident

rural Australians poorer than Australians that

NRHA’s policy work will influence government

with networking. Having an understanding

live in the city?

decisions regarding rural health. The NRHA

of the rural health industry and the politics

Nursing Sally Grainger Nursing Representative

Community & Advocacy Rachel Bourke

Rural health politics and policy might sound

is one pathway for student advocacy to occur

of rural health will also make you sound

like fancy terms but they really come down to

and also an important source of information

knowledgeable in a job interview!

discussing issues such as these.

for rural health students about the latest news

There are many opportunities for you to

The establishment of the Community and

in rural health. An important upcoming event

contribute to the student vision for the

Advocacy Portfolio within the NRHSN will mean

hosted by the National Rural Health Alliance is

future of rural health via your involvement

that we will be able to put a greater focus on

the 10th National Rural Health Conference, the

in the NRHSN. Check out the Community and

developing student policy and advocating that

major Australian multidisciplinary rural health

Advocacy Portfolio page on our website www.

policy to stakeholder organisations including

conference. . There may be an

the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA),

This biannual event will be held in Cairns in

upcoming opportunity to join the Portfolio as

Australian Rural Health Education Network

May this year and will bring experts from

an ARHEN representative. For more information

(ARHEN) and Rural Education Foundation

many health disciplines together to discuss

or to get involved email

Australia (REFA).

Cooee! April 2009

ARMS: Australian National University, ACT

surrounding rural areas including

brigade teaching students first aid

On Friday the 13th of March ARMS

Delegate & Dalgety shows, Cooma

and emergency skills.

held its annual bushdance. This

show, Bombala show, Goulburn

This year ARMS also has 21 of

event, which was also attended

show and of course Canberra Show.

its members placed in long

by CRANC, is the social highlight

These days, apart from being a lot

term rural stream positions in

of the year with a lot of boot

of fun, provide students with good

rural nodes in Goulburn, Young,

scooting fun had by all.

practice refining their skills whilst

Cooma, Eurobodalla and Bega.

This year ARMS has participated in


giving community members a

These students integrate into the

RHSVs to Goulburn High, Mulwaree


checkup of their health.

community of their rural town and

High and Goulburn Trinity College.

Tremendous fun was also had

are frequently visited by students

ARMS members shared their

by many ARMS members at the

based in Canberra. This is a great

stories of how they came to study

opportunity for medical students to

medicine at ANU and by doing

experience the pleasures of rural

so hope to inspire students to


consider a career in health.

ARMS members have been busy providing health education and

Bungendore rural skills day, held on health checks taking blood pressures Sat 28th March. This day was run and blood sugars at shows in by the local doctors and rural fire

AURHA: Adelaide University, SA

health members. It was a fantastic

And we haven’t even got to

way for us all to relax with a couple

NURHC yet! We will be sending

of cold beverages and bond with

a strong contingent up north to

our newest recruits and also take

Cairns to battle it out at the Golden

in the serenity and stench of the

Windmills and enjoy the hospitality

mudflats of the river Torrens.

and amazing conference that is lined up for us.

Philippa Baker

The year looks set to include lots of touring around the beautiful state

Hopefully 2009 will see a continued

of South Australia recruiting health

improvement in our relationship

This year is looking to be a blinder

students with our High School visits,

with the other SA-based clubs of

with events left, right and centre

a trip to Port Augusta for VibeAlive

ROUSTAH and FURHS and greater

for AURHA and more members than

and our now well-known, mini-

success of our combined ventures

you can shake a stick at!



Other highlights on our calendar We kicked the year off in great

include Dinner Under the Stars – a

We have a fresh committee who

style with our welcome BBQ for

fantastic night out at a mystery

are excited about the year ahead

all our new members, plenty of

location with inspirational guest

& we hope to see you somewhere

old ones and most importantly, an


along the way - whether it’s in our

encouraging contingent of allied

AWAIRH: La Trobe Uni, Wondonga VIC

Jacqui Pettingill

backyard or yours! AWAIRH are gearing up for a big

to be a multi-displinary learning

them, its in the early stages of the

2009. Our new executive team


organising process.

formed at a general meeting on

We’ll be attending Vibe Alive in

Tuesday 24 March 2009. We’re

Mildura in July 2009, and we’re also

We’d love to hear from other

hoping to organise a visit for

working on having representation at

Rural Health Clubs about how they

members to the Albury Base Hospital a local High School Expo in Wodonga

established themselves in early

and tour of the Rural Medical School on 20 May 2009. Co-ordinating sometime in April. This is intended with LaTrobe Uni to tag along with

days as well so please drop us a line any time!

BREAATHHE: University of Newcastle, NSW

BUSHFIRE: Bond University, QLD

CARAH: Charles Darwin University, NT with Flinders Uni, SA

Emma Hogan

Greer Stevens

Anna Huigen

Breaathhe has had an exciting start to 2009 and

The New Year has brought a new name, new

CARAH had a quiet finish to 2008 after a busy

things are shaping up to get even better!!

exec, new logo and a new energy for the rural

year. The 2008 committee had their last formal

We started the year, like every other, by taking

health club at Bond University. Although only in

meeting in November at a local café combining

our place amongst the O’Week stands. This year

its infancy, BUSHFIRE has gained considerable

breakfast with business.

we enticed new members with apple slinkies

support and encouragement and will be able to

On March 23rd this year, CARAH had a

and a range of BREAATHHE merchandise- a huge

offer its members fantastic rural experiences and combined Meet’n’Greet night and AGM.

hit!! We recruited just over 100 new enthusiastic

opportunities now and well into the future.

Students and staff from Charles Darwin Uni,

members over the duration of 4 days and hope

Already in the works for this year are several

Henge Education, Batchelor Institute, Alice

to see more forms flood in as we visit allied

hands on skills nights and a joint rural health

Springs Hospital and Centre for Remote Health

health orientation sessions over the coming

trip in collaboration with TROPIQ, RHINO and

were invited. Approximately 15 people

weeks. We hope this fresh insurgence into our

HOPE4HEALTH. All of our current exec members club brings with it many wonderful opportunities were present on a similar rural health trip to this year. Stanthorpe last year and were all intrigued by

gathered for pizzas (after our pre-arranged

These new and existing members welcomed

the professional and personal opportunities of

positions vacant. A new committee of six

in 2009 - Vegas style!! A fun-filled night of

rural health careers. We look forward to sharing

people was elected which was a great result.

costumes and dancing allowed our members to

that awareness and enthusiasm with our new

Angela Titmuss has agreed to continue in her

let their hair down and enjoy some networking

members on this upcoming trip.

role as CARAH mentor – she was a fantastic


At the moment, the team is focused on

support to the 2008 committee and the 2009

Breaathhe has experienced an image overhaul

recruiting new enthusiastic members from

committee are very fortunate to have Ange

throughout the duration of the summer break.

Bond’s May intake of Medicine and Allied Health

on board this year. The new committee will

We have spruced up nicely with the addition

students. O week activities and promotional

be meeting shortly to decide upon committee

of a Facebook site, blackboard page, new logo

packs are planned to spark their curiosity

roles, the 2009 CARAH events calendar, and the

and new website (

and hopefully entice them to become active

2009 budgets.

and this is just the beginning!! We are currently

members of BUSHFIRE.

I’d like to thank the 2008 committee: Kellyanne

finalising a newsletter for our members and

We have members heading off to NURHC and

Coyle (Co-President), Heidi Kurovec (Vice-

executive which we hope to distribute very

RDAQ conferences and plan to organise a Rural

President), Dianne Thorp (NRHSN Senior Rep)


High School Visit as soon as the stress of barrier

and Ben Williams (Publicity Officer) for all

We are very much looking forward to hosting

exams has passed! With all of that on the

their input and support. A big thank you to

our annual skills night in May which will allow

horizon, as well as the approaching Vibe Alive

Centre for Remote Health for their role as

our members to have some interaction with

Indigenous festival & all the other challenges

administrators and Sabina’s time and input has

medical professionals and offer students the

of establishing & maintaining a well-run club,

been a fantastic resource for CARAH. Thanks

opportunity to engage in plastering, suturing,

BUSHFIRE is in for a busy year. Stay tuned!

to the NRHSN staff and 2008 council members

venipuncture and cannulation.

Of course, none of that would be possible

also for their wonderful support. Last of

Breaathhe will round out our semester with a

without the help from NRHSN and our other

all, thank you to the CARAH members who

rural high school visit, an interstate adventure

major supporter Health Workforce Queensland.

supported CARAH by attending the 2008 events

and will catch our breath with a night of lawn

Thank you everyone for welcoming us to the

– CARAH is run by students for students!

bowls and a good old fashioned BBQ- can’t

NRHSN family!


gourmet food failed to materialise!), and members of the old committee declared all

Cooee! April 2009

CRANC: University of Canberra, ACT Erica Collins

FURHS: Flinders University, SA Robert Carey

HOPE4HEALTH: Griffith University, WA Lucy Barnett

We had a number of executive

headed off to Darwin in January

physiotherapy. It was a great

members graduating at the end of

for a two-week clinical placement

opportunity to view physiotherapy

2008, and have managed to recruit

at Robertson Barracks. “Darwin

techniques outside the scope of

a good number of students from

was a great placement both for

Canberra practices.”

across the University this year!

professional development and

2009 promises to be a busy

We had a busy close to 2008 with a

experiencing life in the top end.

year for CRANC. We currently

number of students attending RAW

We visited Kakadu, barramundi

have students away on clinical

and the Deadly Days activities. Our

fishing, croc watching on Adelaide

placements in Broken Hill and in

contingent attending RAW came

river, watched an international

Alice Springs. We are planning

back with smiles and enthusiasm

rugby 7s tournament, got caught

on working with the Southern

as big as Dunedoo! The girls who

in some massive thunder storms

Region RHC’s for more RHSV’s, a

attended Deadly Days said that “It

and enjoyed some beverages with

Mid-Winter ball in Wagga and we

was a fantastic day and I have learnt the locals…During our time at the

hope to work with ARMS to get a

a lot. Being able to interact with

barracks we were able to get our

4x4 driving course going. In the

other clubs enables me to enhance

hands dirty with dry needling,

mean time we are still working

my ability to contribute to our club.”

plastering, real-time ultrasound,

on getting as many students ‘out

We awarded a clinical placement

observed surgery, sporting

bush’ as possible and are looking

scholarship to Two Master of

activities within the barracks

forward to sending a sizeable

Physiotherapy students. They

and general private practice

contingent to NURHC in August!

FURHS has had a flying start

We’re planning on working closely

rural scene was extremely popular.

to 2009, with about 100 new

as part of the ‘Triclub’, with the

Another event held was the

members signing up at our sign up

other SA clubs AURHA & ROUSTAH.

first Royal Flying Doctor Service

days. We tried something different

We’re planning on combining our

orientation session which was

from the usual lunch time barbecue

RHSVs so we have a representation

organised by the Rural Doctors

and instead opted for ice-creams.

of all disciplines & all universities

Workforce Agency. This aims to

These made for a refreshing change

on each trip. The other major

facilitate student placements for

on the warm Adelaide days.

‘Triclub’ event will be the annual

a day with the service. This was

Our aims for 2009 are to increase

Campfire weekend, towards the

once again extremely popular with

our members as well as the wider

end of the year.

tickets selling out fast.

community’s awareness of issues

Our first social event was Shindig,

With planning in progress, FURHS is

surrounding rural heath in Australia.

which saw members come along

looking forward to a successful year

We’re trying to organise activities

and nominate for remaining 2009

ahead with activities such as Rural

that promote participation across all

committee positions & also meet

First aid night and ‘Christmas in

the health disciplines both through

fellow members over a delicious

July’ as well as many other exciting

educational and social activities

lunch. Our photo competition

activities to help keep our members

(hopefully at the same time).

comprising student’s photos of a

enthused about rural health.

HOPE4HEALTH got off to a great start Gold Coast next year providing a

trips to the Cherbourg Specialist

in 2009 with well over 100 new

fantastic opportunity for students

Clinic to observe and participate

members joining up. To celebrate

and members of our local

in consultations. Later in 09 we’ll

we kicked off with an 80’s Prom

Indigenous population. There are

be running and expanding the

Night launch party, over 450 people

also plenty of opportunities for

Cherbourg Teddy Bear Hospital

raid the local Op Shops for some

HOPE4HEALTH members to get

program to include a health

horrendous outfits! It set the scene

a taste for all things rural. Our

careers expo for the older primary

for an exciting year ahead...

Joint Rural Health Club weekend

school students. Our major

On the fundraising side of things,

in combination with BUSHFIRE,

rural health fundraising event

HOPE4HEALTH is working on

TROHPIQ and RHINO is fast

‘The Midnight Muster’ was held

integrating an initiative called AIME

approaching along with RHSVs

on March 14 at the Beaudesert

(Australian Indigenous Mentoring

and the Rural Doctors Association

Racecourse. The Midnight Muster

Experience) into Griffith University.

of Queensland Conference, on the

is in its 3rd year & we hope it will

The AIME project was started by

Gold Coast.

be a big part of our calendar in

students at the University of Sydney

Our first Indigenous art exhibition

years to come. Several hundred

who had the goal of improving

‘Heartlands’ is running in April

students from Northern NSW and

education outcomes in Indigenous

with all funds raised going to the

SE Queensland attended with all

high school students. We’re working AIME project. Our members will

proceeds going to the RFDS.

for the AIME project to begin on the

be making the most of bimonthly

KRASH: Notre Dame University, WA Cathy Pickering

We started 2009 with a huge movement to encourage members and also to promote KRASH to existing members. We had a great response from this membership drive but are still looking into recruiting Aboriginal Health Worker Students studying in the Kimberly. 2009 already has involved a visit to Broome Senior High School, for Career Development Day for year 10 students. Third year nursing students talked to students in a speed dating format about what they wanted to do after they

LARHC: La Trobe University, VIC Alison Sahhar

concluded their studies and what careers were

hopefully a win will come out of it too. We’ve

available in health. We had a great response

also had great interest for NURHC, and hope

from students and teachers about KRASH, which

to send students from all years & disciplines.

was really encouraging. On the horizon is a

We’re excited about 2009 & the many events

RHSV to Derby District High School in August.

occurring. Although we still have a lot of

KRASH will also be involved in the 38th Shinju-

challenges to overcome, more members to

Matsuri Festival (Festival of the Pearl) in

recruit & many events to organize and attend,

Broome this year. This is the social calendar

we are on our way to developing a great RHC.

event of the year in Broome running over 10 days with multicultural events and activities showcasing the history, cultural diversity and talent of Broome. Some of the events include waking Sammy the Dragon, float parade, Mardi Gras concert, a food festival and Dragon Boat Races. We’ll be entering a Dragon Boat team and may be putting a float in the Grand Parade. Dragon boating is a great sport with fierce competition. It’s a great day in the sun on the lovely Broome beaches to be enjoyed by all and about 380 members. Shortly following the stall

LARHC scholarships will soon be open, these

was a BBQ that gained the interest of more new

are aimed at promoting and funding health


related students undertaking placements in

In mid March LARHC joined with the pharmacy

rural areas. LARHC has had a fantastic start to

club to hold a social pub crawl event. Tickets

the year and we are excited to see the year’s T events through.

were sold out within the first few days and the event attracted about 150 keen students. Preparations for the LARHC Ball in May are well underway. The Ball will be held in Bendigo and

O week preparations started at the end of

have an exciting Masquerade theme. Tickets will

2008, with plans to take our stall to a new high.

be on sale soon and we look forward to a fun-

We organised a lucky dip for new members.

filled, exciting night.

Prizes included gift vouchers from around the

Relay For Life is soon approaching and LARHC

local area willing to support our rural health

has been involved in organising our own team.

club. Our Secretary did a fabulous slide-show

Fundraising has begun and we’ve recruited

on the Laptop to show our recent activities,

dedicated members to take part in the event.

and a colourful brochure was designed. LARHC

We look forward to sending eager participants to

balloons, table cloths, posters and wrist bands

the 2009 NURHC in Cairns and Vibe Alive held in

all made the stall more unique! We now have

Mildura coming up in July this year. registrations than ever and an exciting calendar

MARHS: Charles Sturt Uni, Albury, NSW

Jenny Barr

planned. Our recently elected executive are busy planning our first social events of the year, including our kick off ‘bull riding night’ followed by our annual ‘Bush bash ball’ where we showcase the bush dancing talents of our country campus as we heel and toe-it up on a shearing shed floor. Following on from the success of last year,

What do bucking bulls, flannelette and folk

MARHS is again hoping to run a repeat of the

bands have to do with addressing the health

highly successful mental health first aid course,

concerns of rural Australia? Well, this year MARHS raising awareness and providing practical skills for students dealing with mental health. is ‘stepping it up’ for the cause of rural health and using all these things and more to boost

We also hope to run a repeat of the eating

the interest of our rurally based students in the

disorders panel night, and an ATSI night, raising

bigger picture of rural health.

awareness of local community groups and

2009 is shaping up to be a great year with more

showcasing some of our student involvement

in various events such as the Broome NAIDOC festival attended late last year. This and much more should keep the Allied Health members of MARHS busy through the year.. Good times to come!

Cooee! April 2009

MIRAGE: University of Sydney, NSW

NERCHA: University of New England, NSW

NOMAD: Deakin University, VIC

Alex Rack

Robyn Billing

Cam Hart

Alex Rack

2009 is set to be another exciting year for

The good people of NERCHA love being in bed

I would like to start by thanking all that have

MIRAGE with a number of events already

with all health disciplines and have welcomed

been involved in getting NOMAD over the

planned, an unprecedented number of new

another degree under the blankets- Social

massive hurdle of the year that has passed.

members signing up and most encouragingly

Work. With the start of the new social work

Since the initial steering committee meeting,

an great proportion of those new members

degree, NERCHA now has four health disciplines

now NOMAD has evolved from an idea to a

were from the allied health disciplines. Sign up

in its ranks including Nursing, Medicine and

functioning club. The second year NOMAD

during the initial weeks back at campus were


brings a new logo. The new logo represents

great but the annual Welcome drinks proved

NERCHA kicked off the semester by holding

the youth and enthusiasm of NOMAD, travel

again to be a fantastic forum for acquiring

a barbecue for Nursing and medical students

in rural health and colours of the country. A

new members and generating interest in

in hope of increasing membership numbers

logo competition was run to gain designs that

participating in the club. The Welcome Drinks

post Orientation. The barbecue was a great

reflect the ideas of what NOMAD means to

were as per last year held at the Marly in

success which saw Armidale serve up heavy


Newton, and for $5 (or $10 if you were joining

rain showers and 19 degrees. In spite of

With a new logo comes lots of exciting projects

the club) saw students getting two drinks

optimal New England weather, the event

NOMAD are looking to undertake in 2009. Our

and nibbles and an awesome party! We also

moved indoors where many people signed up,

inaugural AGM is fast approaching and calls

had door prizes and a short presentation

especially Nursing students. A big thankyou

are being put out for nominations. The current

about what MIRAGE stands for, does and what

must be awarded to all those who helped

committee are looking forward to a breath of

opportunities it offers members.

under adverse conditions, especially Yoni

fresh air in new committee members. Our RHSV

Looking forward for the year, in May we are

Luxford, our club administrator and Shannon

calendar is underway with the idea of running

again in conjunction with MedSoc organising

Townsend, NERCHA president.

a RHSV within the month. In collaboration

the Annual Indigenous Health Forum. An

NERCHA had its first official meeting of the

MedSoc’s Global Health Team we are currently

excellent selection of speakers has been

year recently and has a number of plans for

planning Deakin’s first Teddy Bear Hospital.

sought and the night looks like it’s destined to

the coming year. These great events include

As a club we are excited to get this up and

be a highlight in the MIRAGE calendar year yet

establishing a relationship/mentor program

running as it adds another aspect of what

again. RHSV’s are still in the planning stages

with the local Aboriginal primary school,

NOMAD is trying to achieve through educating

but already there are an encouraging amount

holding a combined ball with the UNE Medical

the younger folk on health and the nuts and

of students interested in going to represent

Students Association, two Rural High School

bolts of careers, hospital and healthcare

MIRAGE, with the most likely destination to be

Visits and a whole heap of other minor social


up in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, no


Our recruitment drive has proved fruitful during

doubt a great 3-4 day trip will be organised

Also in the near future, a general meeting

‘O’week, having recruited new members and

with school visits and of course some time

will be called to elect a junior executive

renewing old memberships we are looking

allocated to local sight seeing. Indigenous

to fill places in the NERCHA council. The

forward to getting the new faces of the club

Festivals are also coming up and with the

Newly appointed junior executive will hold

involved in all that is NOMAD.

students out at Dubbo Rural Clinical School on

these positions until later in the year when

board for the Coonanmble Vibe Alive Festival

all executive positions will come up for

we are off to good start. Also with lots of

nomination and election.

interest already in the Deadly Days Festivals to be held later on this year, Indigenous Festivals look to be a great opportunity for MIRAGE members to become involved in the club and in the rural and indigenous communities.

photo: RAHMS

OUTLOOK: University of Melbourne, VIC Joshua Crase

where they will be

raising nearly $2000.

for the majority of

Other events included an

their clinical years,

Indigenous Walking Tour, Film

and to encourage CSP

Night, Indigenous Health Forum,

students to consider

Cultural Communications Seminar,

the RCS as a clinical

and a BBQ and footy match.

school option.

The Moovin Health Ball, following

The Oxfam Close

last year’s successful masquerade

the Gap campaign

event, saw the students dressed

The Annual Victorian Rural Careers

and dinner sponsored by Bowlers

bake sale fundraiser was held

up in Hollywood style for an

Weekend was held in Wangaratta

Reaching Out For Others (BROTO).

to increase awareness of the

exciting and fun-filled evening!

in March. The event, coordinated

Over several Weekends in March,

many health issues facing

Vibe Alive was held in Mildura

by Melbourne Uni, also involved

Outlook coordinated groups of 60

Indigenous Australians, and

in November and we sent 11

members from WILDFIRE, NOMAD

medical students to tour and hear

for students and staff to sign a

students. Everyone had a good

& RAHMS. Approximately 60

from doctors and students at the

pledge to decrease the 17 year

time and mixed with kids from

medical students attended

Rural Clinical Schools (Ballarat,

life expectancy gap between

across north western Victoria and

the two days, which involved

Shepparton and Wangaratta). The

non-Indigenous and Indigenous

parts of SA from Indigenous and

numerous presentations from all

events provided an opportunity

Australians. Approximately 300

non-Indigenous backgrounds. We

general practice and specialty

for BMP/ERC/MRBS students to

Outlook members attended from

ran a careers and health eating

colleges. A social winery lunch

see the RCS facilities and staff

multidisciplinary backgrounds

tent in conjunction with Wildfire.

RAHMS: Uni of NSW, NSW Jinny Gill

Back to business, another action-

projects and general organization/

packed year is in the works.

functions, and foster their own

In the near future, plans for

‘daughter project’.

Mental Health Night and Clinical

Speaking of large projects;

Skills Night are underway.

planning is already underway and

These functions always attract a

excitement is brewing for the

This year, we have RAHMed right

turnout, great weather, delicious

significant amount of numbers,

infamous RAW, which will no doubt

into the swing of things, wasting

assortment of food; guaranteed to

often demand exceeding capacity.

be an October long weekend to

no time in expanding our horizons;

be a hit.

The Rural High School Visit is

remember. We are hoping this will

the RAHMS team was out in force

Very recently, RAHMS had a

another current priority, location

be another valuable opportunity

in UNSW O-Week trying to recruit

strong representation in the

and collaboration with other RHCs

for our various RHCs to become

a variety of disciplines, making

joint Medsoc/RAHMS Pubcrawl,

yet to be confirmed.

familiarized and work together...

various presentations during

distinguishable by our charming

This year has seen the RAHMS.

Stay tuned!

orientations for various allied

blue and orange t-shirts and

Executive expand, with the

health courses...Another year,

flannies. And general good

integration of Allied Health Rep

another impressive haul...

looks. The night provided

to increase the representation

To kick off the year the Start of

another opportunity to foster the

of and advocation for this group

Year meet and greet provided an

formation and strengthening of

of our members. We’ve also

opportunity for all the new and old

intra and inter-club bonds, and

implemented General Executive

RAHMites to knock back a schooner

of course to ‘get loose’ as most

positions in the Executive,

or two at The Royal. An impressive

accounts confirm.

members help out in large

up on the night. A great mix of

attracted by the prospect of

National Universities Rural Health

people attended the BBQ; allied

abstract and poster presentations

Conference, Joint University

health, nursing, medical students

at such events.

Rural Health Trips got the RHINO

and RHINO alumni alike! It was

Not only does the annual “Keepin’

hormones raging! The “Keepin’

a prime opportunity to talk to a

it Rural” party provide a rare

it Rural” sign on BBQ is an event

plethora of buzzing “freshers”

opportunity for multiple year

that goes down in all health

who were unfamiliar about Club

levels and disciplines to mingle,

students’ diaries. Every year

RHINO and our 2009 events, rural

but it also gives the RHINO

we not only gain an exceptional

health or the opportunities that

committee members a chance

amount of new, active members,

NRHSN offers health students. A

to let our hair down (underneath

but a large proportion of avid

number of current Club RHINO

the akubra) whilst promoting our

supporters who help maintain

members expressed interest in

2009 calendar. Hearing about

the outstanding reputation of fun

attending a variety of national,

interactive guest speaker nights,

times in the bush.

rural conferences and were

raging cocktail parties, hosting

RHINO: James Cook Uni, QLD Mitch Sharrock It’s rare to find a health student that will not give their left arm for a free sausage, hay bale, live music and a couple of drinks with their mates! RHINO’s first event for the year went off with a bang, reflected by our 130 new RHINO members who signed

Cooee! April 2009 The afternoon was kept busy with lots of “who

RHUUWS: University of Western Sydney, NSW

are you and how can I join?” chatter over backslabs as well as some less conventional plaster-limb creations. A follow-up BBQ on campus the very next week (great way to use up extra sausages!) saw sparking interest from hungry and even not so hungry passers-by,

Sarah Galloway

RHUUWS has begun 2009 with a tremendous bang and are rolling into a new era of the second-ever elected exec with all sorts of enthusiasm! With more than a hundred new members joining our ranks within these first five weeks of UWS semester, RHUUWS has definitely created a stir both on campus and beyond. We kicked off the year with the club’s inaugural “Get Plastered” event, drawing students from all over Campbelltown campus to the sizzling sausages and plentiful plaster.

and served to maintain RHUUWS momentum on campus. The final week of March saw ten RHUUWS members venture off campus and down the south coast of NSW for a busy couple of days visiting rural high schools and a combined high schools health careers expo, as well as spending a delightful evening chatting to doctors from a GP practice in Nowra over tea. All in all, a fantastic start to the year for RHUUWS and a great atmosphere in which we welcome in new leadership to drive the next exciting chapter!

challenging 6 hour bushwalk, jumping from

It was a great opportunity to be outside of

one rock to another. We had close encounters

Sydney and not have to think about our written

with sharp plants & some tasty bush tucker

curriculum as we were apart of a grander

plants. Noel led us to a sacred place that was

learning experience.

amazing pointing out some Aboriginal rock art

We were all taken with Noel’s humour,

which he estimates has been there for at least

knowledge and passion, and thoroughly

10,000 years. It was a very humbling moment.

enjoyed the experience. Jamanee Gunya is

In February, a group of ROUNDS & RAHMS

On the way back we stopped on a rocky

especially great for those students who want

members travelled to Milton on the NSW South

outcrop while Noel told us a traditional story

an introduction to Aboriginal culture and our

Coast to attend an Indigenous Health Weekend

about his land. The effect of the breath taking

beautiful landscape.

workshop hosted by the fantastic Budawang

views was heightened by his story telling and

man; Noel Butler.

I think we all felt extremely privileged to have

Noel gave us a talk on the structure of

shared this experience.

Aboriginal tribes throughout Australia. His

During the weekend we also had a chance

daughter and son-in-law also spoke on dealing

to taste our national fauna, such as the emu,

with Indigenous people in the medical and

kangaroo and crocodile. We ate our own

legal context and specifically about their work

damper, learnt how to throw a boomerang

in Nowra. Later that day we went on a hot and

and spear, and make fire using rubbing sticks.

ROUSTAH: University of South Australia, SA Matt Hayman

students heading out on their rural placements

got the chance to spread the word about

with as much support as possible.

ROUSTAH and the NRHSN to physiotherapy

One aim from the end of last year was to

students from around Australia.

increase the amount of nursing students and

There are several social and educational events

with the help of our wonderful administrator

planned for our members in the coming months

from the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency this is

so the ROUSTAH executive has a busy time

ROUNDS: Notre Dame University, NSW Annalyse Crane

coming along very well.

ahead and looks forward to continuing the

With a solid foundation after the AGM at the

After attending F2F in Melbourne early last

development of the club.

end of last year ROUSTAH’s new executive

month Tahlia Heath and I have come back

committee is looking forward to a very

Adelaide enthusiastic to continue our close ties

productive 2009. ROUSTAH has started off the

with FURHS and AURHA to advance rural health

year with a recruitment drive and the numbers

awareness in SA. We look forward to being

are good! We attended UniSA’s O week and

involved in Tri-club events and rural high school

several of the very well attended course

visits during the year.

barbeques and signed up many interested new

Some of our members where lucky enough to


be funded to go to conferences over summer,

We are also working closely with the Rural

this included the National Physiotherapy

Clinical Placements Unit at UniSA to provide

Students Symposium where 3 of our members

Rustica: University of Tasmania, TAS

Matthew Van Zetten

trip over to the mainland for the indigenous blood services were involved aiming to get

festivals. We are also running a number of

It’s been a pretty hectic start to Rustica’s year.

extra donors and we appreciate the National

skills night sessions where everyone can come

We’ve run orientation programs for all the

Geographic for coming on board as one of the

along and learn the fine arts of venepuncture,

new fresh-eyed health students and signed

night’s major sponsors. We are getting ready

plastering and suturing. And everybody down

a lot of them up as members at the Oweek

to hold an electives night in the not too distant

here is getting very excited about this years

celebrations – over 400 members for the year

future and are looking into the AIMED database

NURHC. The producer, choreographer and

already. We changed up our annual welcome

to see if we can continue to help run this great

artistic director have all been appointed for our

dinner this year in light of the tragic bushfires

website. Behind the scenes the committee has

golden windmills performance so hopefully

in Victoria and made the night a fundraising

been hard at work arranging this year’s Rural

we can improve on last year’s wooden spoon

appeal for the Bushfire victims. Red Cross

High Schools visits program and our annual


remote, that straight after exams in November

new students signing up, and SHARP hosted

last year, 4 of them headed north to join

a workshop at the 2009 MedCamp to share

members of RUSTICA in Rocky for the VibeAlive

with the new medical students some of the

festival. SHARP members also represented the

activities we do at Indigenous Festivals & Rural

club at the Coffs Harbour/Taree Deadly Days

High School Visits. We recently held our AGM

Festivals earlier in the year. At both activities,

& would like to welcome our new committee

members had a great time introducing Gutsy

for 2009. Coming up we have our Annual Bush

Last year was a huge year for SHARP and

Gus to the local kids and running positive

Dance, Close the Gap Day, more Hills Hoists

we came to a consensus that reaching 500

and interactive sessions on health and health

with WUHOW, NURHC09, and SHARP is entering

members last October was the perfect reason to

careers. 2009 is shaping up to be even

an inaugural team in the University’s Clubs &

hold a SHARP at the Brewery to celebrate. One

bigger for the Club! Our membership drive

Societies’ UniCentre Cup.

of our members, Amanda Francis gave SHARP

during O-week was a massive success with 96

SHARP: University of Wollongong, NSW Teena Downton

members an idea of the many experiences she has gained from being a SHARP member which has inspired her interest in remote area nursing. We would also like to thank Shannon Nott (2008 Co-Chair) who joined us on the night on behalf of the NRHSN. SHARP members are so keen to go rural and

SPINRPHEX: Combined WA Universities, WA Philippa Gray

too! We combined efforts for the low ropes course then challenged ourselves with the high ropes. The afternoon was time for letting the ideas flow as the two clubs each planned their events and aims for the year. The challenge for SPINRPHEX this year will be providing

SPINRPHEX has had a good start to the year, with

for ever-growing member numbers without

big sign-ups at the O-Days and our first meeting,

compromising the quality or number of events.

– we even had one person leaving in full torso

totaling around 500 members so far with more

Overall the planning day was a great day for

and arm cast! There were 237 members at

joining each day! The first activity for the exec

the committee to get to know each other,

the meeting, a strong start to the year and

this year was our exec planning day combined

including our great new administrator Lisa, and

hopefully a sign of things to come. Preparations

with WAALHIIBE. The morning saw a bit of

start prepping ourselves for another big year.

are underway for the next SPINRPHEX events:

friendly rivalry in small team challenges. There’s

The first SPINRPHEX meeting for general

a multi-D night combined with WAALHIIBE,

nothing like crawling around on the ground

members this year was the ‘Get Plastered’

with speakers from the RFDS and allied

trying to build a rope ‘house’ with six others,

night, where members came to sign up, have

health disciplines coming to talk about their

all blind-folded, to improve communication and

some food and drink, and try their style at

experiences working in the bush, our annual

team-working skills – entertaining to watch

plaster-casting. The event was well received

camp at Nanga in May, and Close the Gap Day.

Cooee! April 2009 site at Springvale Homestead,

StARRH: Charles Darwin University, NT

“bonding” around the camp fire and hunting Cane Toads. After the festival we will be canoeing down Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge and camping under the stars with the

Ian Vickers

resident fresh water crocs (sounds So far we have had stalls at

with CDU’s new Vice Chancellor

good hey?).

Far out! Nearly the end of

CDU for club sign up day and

Professor Barney Glover, and are

More recently StARRH hosted

semester one already! Time flies

O’day signing up many new

looking forward to his support

Dianne Thorp from CARAH who

when you’re having fun and fun

StARRH’s. We have had our first

over the coming year.

attended the “Bridging the Gap”

it has been for StARRH (the club

guest speaker/meeting in which

In August we will be attending

seminar. This culminated in a club

formerly known as TEHC). Name

RAN Sally Wakeling shared her

the Wakakirri festival in

get together at the Beachfront

changes, a new presidency and

stories of life as a young woman

Katherine and will be spending a

Hotel in which many new talents

virtually a brand spanking new

working in remote communities

couple of nights (free of charge)

were revealed both on the dance

committee. We are fired up and

throughout the NT (thanks Sal).

thanks to “Connections Safaris”

floor and in the pool room!

ready to roll.

We have recently had a meeting

at their luxury permanent camp

Looking forward to the next one.

TROHPIQ: University of Queensland,QLD

many new members sign up. Our

closer to home allowing more

annual trip to the Fraser Coast gave

students to come. We’ll be heading

us a chance to tour hospitals in

to Beaudesert in SE QLD where

Bundaberg and Hervey Bay and of

we’ll enjoy some fun times with

course, check out the local drinking

other rural health clubs. We have

holes. We also welcomed our new

already begun the inter-club liaison

allied health members at our First

with TROHPIQ’s strong attendance

Semester Allied Health BBQ.

at the ever crazy Midnight Muster

We have continued our popular

held by Hope4Health and hope to

regular events: our Rural Clinical

continue the tradition attending this

Life at TROHPIQ has been busy but

Skills Workshop was again a sell out

event in the future.

fun so far this year. We are proud

and our rural high school visit to

to present our revamped website

Gympie was very well received.

and our new logo. We will miss the

We look forward to the upcoming

Marguerite Tyson

friendly Gus but feel our new look is joint rural health weekend with more professional keeps us ‘up with

Bond and Griffith Universities in

the times’.

April. Although in previous years

We began the year with our

we have gone to Rockhampton,

Welcome Back BBQ where we had

we’ve decided to make it a little

WAALHIIBE: Combined WA Universities, WA Ashley Willock

we continue to lecture bash and

rip roaring start! February saw us

falling off. We then proceeded promote WAALHIIBE and the NRHSN. to the business end of the high March saw the annual WAALHIIBE ropes course, the ‘flying fox’ and

visiting Curtin, Edith Cowan and

& SPINRPHEX camp take a slightly

the ‘leap of faith’. The brave

Notre Dame universities over two

different turn. Instead of a weekend

and vertigo challenged alike

weeks for the semester one O-

camp, this year it was decided that

were put to the test with much

days. This proved a great success

we would have a team building

encouragement fromspectators.

with record membership numbers!

and planning day. Early Saturday

After a well deserved lunch it

Membership is still major focus as

morning we found ourselves at the

was time to get down to business

ropes course at Challenge Stadium

with a joint planning session.

in Claremont. Lulled into a false

Both clubs nutted through their

sense of security with some gentle

yearly calendars and appointed

get-to-know-you, ice-breakers &

many duties to willing and able

competitive team challenges we

exec members. WAALHIIBE is

were then faced with the low

now looking forward to our first

ropes course which saw us all put

joint event with SPINRPHEX, a

our vanity aside to weave our

multi-disciplinary night with many

way around trees and each other

interesting speakers eager to

to get to the other side without

share their knowledge.

With half a new exec and a brand new year WAALHIIBE are off to

WARRIAHS: Charles Sturt University, NSW Bronwyn Phillips

The beginning of the first semester

their support and enthusiasm,

the National Undergraduate Rural

has seen WARRIAHS have a great

with many new members

Health Conference and all the

start to the year. The new board

volunteering to help with

other rural health student network

took the reins and put in place

upcoming events. Not long after,

events WARRIAHS is linked to so

some slight changes to the club

Commencement Dinner at The

you can stay in touch with rural

structure to enhance organisation

Farrer had close to 200 attendees

health student issues. President

and flow of ideas. Clubs Day saw

enjoying a meal and a few laughs.

Kyle, REFA rep Lauren and Senior

a great number of new members

The new board and committee

NRHSN rep Bronwyn attended the

and re-signing members alike offer

structure has worked well to put

first Face to Face in Melbourne in

heaps of events on the calendar

early March making some great

including Health Expo and visits to

connections over the couple of

local high schools, two paintball

days. Joint club events are high

trips, a cadaver and bush party

on the agenda of things to do for

trip in Albury, and the winter

2009! It looks like it’s going to be

ball. And all this is outside of

a great year!

Most of our events and signing

cast-offs, all enjoyed a fun (if

WILDFIRE’s premier event, will

of members occurred during

messy!) night.

be held on April 3, the day after

O-Week, with various events

Following on from the NRHSN

National Close the Gap Day. This

held across our different sites

Council meeting in March, the

will be our 15th annual MCME

and campuses. From plaster

ball is rolling for a combined

and it will continue in its thought-

casts to ice-creams, sausages

Victorian Rural Health Clubs

provoking and inspiring manner,


to merchandise plastered with

activity later in the year. Ideas

with the theme “Closing the Gap


the mighty WILDFIRE name, our

currently in the pipeline include a

1994-2009: The story so far in

WILDFIRE: Monash University, VIC

members were kept well fed,

giant camping trip, ski trip, or pub

Indigenous Health”. As always,

WILDFIRE has hit the ground

watered, adorned and most of all,

crawl throughout one of Victoria’s

the MCME promises to be a

running in 2009! With a new

enthused! – throughout their initial

regional towns, so Victorians,

highly successful and stimulating

Council elected at the end of 2008,

few weeks of the university year.

stayed tuned! Also discussed


we have welcomed new members

The second intake of the new

at the Council meeting was

WILDFIRE is looking forward to

on board and enjoyed having old

Monash postgraduate medicine

reinvigoration of RHSVs amongst

NURHC with great anticipation,

members back for more good

course was introduced to WILDFIRE

the Victorian clubs and we look

with high interest from members

times. Our membership numbers

and rural health with the help of

forward to getting these firing in

to both attend and present. We

have climbed steadily and we

WILDFIRE’s age-old ‘Get Plastered’

the near future.

can’t wait to see everyone in

currently have approximately 400,

evening. Amid much laughter,

The Matthew Campbell Memorial


with this number rising rapidly.

socialisation, and gunky plaster

Evening (MCME), arguably

in late January/

was not only an exciting first , but


early February that

was unique in that the operation

Overall, our experience was

enables students to

would be completed by a team of

invaluable, not only in preparing

experience medicine

GPs with specialities in obstetrics

us for upcoming clinical years, but

in a rural setting. For

and anaesthetics. We both held

for the insight it gave us into the

one week, students

our breath as a new life emerged

workings of and the challenges

are place in a medical practice or

into the crowded theatre room.

inherent in rural practice. It is

hospital in Victoria’s countryside.

We were able to gain a feel for

an encounter we would highly

Experiences are varied, and can

different doctoring styles by

recommend to anyone wanting to

include anything from geriatrics to

sitting in on a number of GPs

expand their future options within


consultations throughout the

the field of medicine.

We were placed with Nish Street

week, and we also attended

Medical Practice-one of two

a snake bite management

medical practices in Echuca.

tutorial. Our experience was

Doctors not only have admitting

capped off with an early

rights to the Echuca hospital, but

morning ward round where,

also oversee its day-day workings.

thanks to a young man that

Our experience was kick-started

got bitten by one of his 36

with an invitation to watch a

pet snakes, we were able to

caesarean being performed. This

see how a real life case was

A Rural Placement Laura & Mooska, OUTLOOK Echuca is a town of 12,400, nestled on the banks of the Murray River. Once being the state’s largest river port, it is otherwise known to tourists as the steamboat capital of Australia. However, this summer, through Melbourne University’s Rural Early Elective Program (REEP), we travelled to Echuca less for the steamboats and more to discover the workings of General Practice in Northern Victoria. REEP is a program that The University of Melbourne runs every summer

Cooee! April 2009 weekends, tubing and sitting on the superb

A JFPP Placement

beaches together. He also took us out to dinner with his friends, a local tradition. We really felt like we fit in.

Matthew Ingram, NERCHA

I also spent half a day with Bruce the

I arrived in burning hot Yeppoon from high-

children to receive vaccinations, which was

altitude Armidale in northern New South Wales

very challenging and interesting to see how

very excited, but lacking any knowledge of

the doctor dealt with the situation. I was also

what lay ahead. I was extremely fortunate

instructed on how to syringe patient’s ears

to spend a lot of time with various doctors

before doing so. All of these were firsts for me,

& allied health professionals over the next

and very exciting.

2 weeks, during my John Flynn Placement

I accompanied Dr Wong to the local retirement

Program (JFPP). My time in Yeppoon included

village and carrying out a psychological exam

many social events with staff of Yeppoon

on some of the residents. One of these was

Family Practice(YFP), as well as locals.

very interesting as the patient did not say

My accommodation had the most amazing

anything for approximately 15 minutes, but

outlook over the entire beach and Keppel

once we left, she spoke to her husband who

Island Group. The practice itself was far larger

rushed after us and told Dr Wong the situation,

than I was expecting with 11 doctors, many

and this eventuated in solving the problem.

nurses and numerous administrators. They also

Part of my time was also spent familiarising

recently opened a satellite practice with just

myself with Medical Director, (the computer

one doctor and a few nurses, at nearby Zilzie.

program used to run the practice). I learnt a

I spent time with almost every doctor in the

lot about the health system in Queensland and

practice, mostly sitting in on, or assisting with

how it varies from my home state of NSW, as

consults, or minor operations. I saw a massive

well as gaining an education in how national

variety of patients ranging from facial trauma

programs work and affect GPs in daily practice.

to depression to vaccinations. I was fortunate

I was very fortunate as I made close friends

enough to assist and even perform some

with many of the staff at YFP. Alana (another

suturing myself - after practice on non-human

JFPP student with me) and I were also invited

material of course.

to one of the nurse’s homes to have dinner

I also worked alongside the nursing staff

with her extended family and we really

learning how to give various injections and

enjoyed a great roast.

familiarising myself with the Australian

We also made good friends with a local, Macca,

Children’s Vaccination Schedule. This involved

at the pub. He was wonderful, adopting us

dealing with parents that did not want their

into his group of friends going out on boats on

Pharmacist learning about how doctor’s prescribing habits are monitored and potential problems dealt with as well as the local Methadone program. I was even allowed to assist with making Webster Packs. I toured each hospital (one private, one public) which was very interesting to see the interactions they had with the GPs to which I was attached. I learnt a lot about the realities of the problems they face in the current political climate & what this means for patients. It was extremely interesting to see the facilities available in a rural/remote area. Overall, going to Yeppoon for my John Flynn Placement was one of the best experiences of my life, and I cannot wait to go back. We were totally accepted into the practice professionally and personally, and into the community by generous locals that I hope to meet up with again next year. I sincerely thank them all for providing me with such an interesting and enjoyable experience.

A word from ACRRM

Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

BMP and MRB Support Schemes – what it’s all about…. The Bonded Medical Places (BMP) Student Support Scheme Pilot and the Medical Rural Bonded (MRB) Support Scheme are both funded by the Department of Health and Ageing and managed by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM). The schemes aim to provide support, communication and networking mechanisms for BMP and MRB participants whilst at university and during their ongoing training.Participants can access a wide

range of activities including funding to attend national medical conferences, networking opportunities at university, access to online

and MRB participants at their university and

learning including e-Mentoring sessions, a

Australia wide. Many long term friendships

regular newsletter and dedicated websites.

and relationships are formed, as well as

Access to these support schemes provides

opportunities for further education and career

the BMP and MRB participants with valuable


learning experiences, access to current

If you are a current BMP or MRB participant and

medical professionals and specialists, access

not signed up for the Support Scheme, contact

to educational and medical organisations,

our staff at or

as well as a support network of other BMP

phone 1800 223 226.

Snakes Creek, Dr James Fitzpatrick Dr James Fitzpatrick is an NRHSN alumni member and former Chair of the Network (2000). He is, in no particualr order a poet, paediatrician, pirate philosopher and rural health advocate. James was the Young Australian of the Year in 2001, being recognised for his longstanding enthusiasm and dedication to addressing rural and indigenous health issues. James is a director of ‘True Blue’ Dreaming, an organisation which establishes mentoring programs for young people in outback communities. James was a very popular speaker at the 2007 NRHSN conference, and we are very excited to have him back as MC for NURHC 09. We are certain that delegates will feel his passion and enthusiam for remote Australia and guarantee that you will be inspired. Currently in Derby, WA, James has penned the following ditty about Snake Creek which is found

Snake Creek’s so named so the crocs can’t be

So it’s bad. You can see that a fella like me


content as a man could be wishin’

for the puddles of blood that lie foaming.

Has no business there with a weekend to spare

It’s where old ghosts, they dies, where the

and an Inlaw who wants to go fishin’

blind lose their eyes and where fear’s too damned scared to go

My wife’s horrid mum has decided to come


and check on her sweet, only daughter Who married this bum from the Kimberley run

It smells like the dead, turbid murky and red And it’s steamy as well, hot and humid as hell

Now my wife’s a good sort but her mother was

and the banks are awash with dead birds

brought up in ‘Poshville’, by Swan River

A snake wouldn’t dare leave his old scales

Her husband he passed, screwed out of his last


brass razoo by this ungodly heifer

and cockroaches retch at the fumes Canetoads expire when exposed to that mire

So she calls on the phone and I cringe at the

and groin fungus spores will not bloom

tone of her “darling” and “charming” and “is it?”

The horror’s so great in that cesspit of hate

And she states with aplomb that it’s high time

that corpses can’t lie in the mud

she come

They twitch and they squirms but there’s no

and pay her sweet snookums a visit

flamin’ worms to suck on their flesh and their blood

A word from SARRAH

Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health

Physiotherapist, Psychologist, Occupational Therapist or Dietician, working in the bush gives you a recession-proof job while giving you a chance to wear your heart on your sleeve and make a difference to needy communities. Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH), is nationally recognised as a peak body representing rural and remote allied health professionals. SARRAH provides support for allied health practitioners working in all sectors and advocates for rural and remote allied health professionals, allied health

For the full poem please go to

just outside Derby.

WHETHER you are studying to be a

who makes his ends meet carting water

and it flows slow like vomit, or turds

workers and students on local,

• Provide HECS credits in return for rural and

state and national levels.

remote practice.

Established in 1995, SARRAH is

SARRAH administers three scholarship

a grassroots organisation able to

programs on behalf of the Australian

address the very particular needs

Government Department of Health and

of the individual rural and remote

Ageing. These programs target allied health

allied health professional. SARRAH

professionals who are either working or

has an extensive regional, state and national

prepared to work in rural or remote Australia.

network of allied health professionals living and

One of the programs administered by

working in rural and remote Australia.

SARRAH is the Allied Health Clinical

SARRAH has been lobbying the federal

Placement Scholarship (AHCPS) Scheme

Government on a number of issues confronting

which provides financial assistance for

students and its current advocacy platform

students undertaking a clinical placement in


a rural or remote community. Applications

• Address the clinical education requirements

for AHCPS close at 5.00pm Tuesday 26 May

for allied health students and raise the level

2009.Further details on

of funding to provide parity with other health

SARRAH and in particular


how to become a

• Support for rural clinical education &

member is available at

placements. Rod Wellington, SARRAH CEO

the future of rural health Quiz Answers

Telephone 03 9860 4700 Fax 03 9820 8383 Email

1.Cairns, QLD 2.Rural High School Visits 3.6 - RAHMS, RHINO,


National Rural Health Students’ Network c/o RHWA Level 6, 10 Queens Road Melbourne VIC 3004

ROUSTAH 5.RHINO 6.rustica 7. Port Augusta 8.Dunedoo, NSW

the Wide Horizons DVD please email us at


If you would like to recieve additional copies of the Cowpat, the Rural Placements Guide or


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