Holy Roberson, Registered Nurse, Hillston Multipurpose Service (MPS): My role here at Hillston MPS is working as a registered nurse. I love working here because of the small-town feel. You quickly get to know everybody, you’re working with great people that you know. Yeah, you might go down the street and you know the families and people that you’ve been looking after, so it’s really lovely.
Maria Erasmus, Registered Nurse, Hillston MPS: Hillston MPS offers opportunities that you won’t find in many other places. Being rural and remote, you learn skills here that you will not easily acquire maybe in a big facility. Even though we are rural and remote though, we are well supported.
Holy: Hillston MPS is a brand new facility – ten aged care beds, five acute beds and three beds in the emergency department.
Maria: The most rewarding part of working in Hillston is the team and the team spirit. It’s an absolute honour to work with these guys, that know the community, that make you part of the community, you’re just part of a family.
Holy: On my days off, in my spare time I like to go fishing down the river, getting involved in sport and going water-skiing at the lake.
Maria: I love a small community for the fact that you can know your neighbour and you feel like you belong even though I, myself is not a local. It didn’t take long for people to recognise you. It’s really nice to walk down the street and be greeted. There’s just something special about it.
Nardia McKinlay, Registered Nurse, Lake
Cargellico MPS: So at Lake Cargellico, I’m a new graduate registered nurse. Originally I’m from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, so it has been a big change for me but I can’t say that I have missed the Sunshine Coast that much. I thought I would but I’m not that homesick, I think because the town has been so welcoming and has everything I need.
Nurse, Lake Cargellico MPS: I am a Division 2 Enrolled Nurse here at Lake
Cargellico. I’ve worked here for over three years now. I really just enjoy the diversity of what this facility has to offer. So I really enjoy that one day it’s aged care, the next minute you could be down in the emergency, it’s just something different every day and that just keeps it exciting.
Nardia: So at Lake
Cargellico, the service we provide is a two bed ED, 6 bed medical acute, 16 aged care beds and then we have community health attached to the hospital which includes mental health, child youth and Aboriginal health.
Tyla McCann, Diploma of Nursing Student, Lake
Cargellico MPS: So I’m currently studying my Diploma of Nursing and I’ve got a placement here at Lake Cargellico. So I’ve been able to come out and basically join the team for my two-week placement where I’m here for a medical placement.
Nardia: My clinical knowledge has doubled, more than doubled, it’s tripled. I’ve actually gained a lot more experience than what I thought I would and probably what I would have if I had have been in a city hospital. I’ve got to do things like point-of-care testing, cannulating, taking blood, things that I would not have the opportunity back home and I’ve been able to attend a lot of workshops like – advanced life support, paediatric training, Resus for kids, Resus for adults – so there's a lot of training opportunity out here.
Nurse: I just find it a very supportive environment, how we can bounce ideas off each other and that sort of thing.
Tyla: The team here have a lot of knowledge to share and they’re very welcoming and they get you in and you get a lot of hands-on experience which is great for when you’re studying.
Nurse: Lake Cargellico can be a real tourist attraction. We have a beautiful lake around the town that often throughout the year we have many travellers come in to enjoy the water sports.
Nardia: If anyone’s contemplating having a nursing career out here at Lake
Cargellico, I’d say go for it. You definitely will learn a lot more than what you think you will. Especially a lot more compared to the cities and you are very supported by management and fellow staff members in your learning.
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Lacey, Farming community counsellor, Murrumbidgee Local Health District: Hi my name's Lacey. I'm a social worker employed by Murrumbidgee Local Health District as the farming community counsellor. I'm based in Deniliquin.
I came to the role because I was born on the land, and have spent 20 years in the Deniliquin area, and I'm very passionate about making sure that our farmers get the help that they need. I saw the role advertised, and was immediately intrigued by being able to use my social work lens in the farming community. The role is very much hands-on and getting out and meeting and greeting people on the land.
So we've been working very hard with local land services to meet farmers out and about in our smaller communities that don't have many services. So, meeting up to 50 farmers at a time at these drought smoko events or fox baiting events, where I get to have a one-on-one chat and a bit of a group chat to get a feel for what's going on in each particular community at that time.
In my role I'm based in the Deniliquin district. We've got a counsellor based in Wagga Wagga district and a counsellor based in Griffith district. We also have a position in Temora which we're hoping to have recruited to by Christmas. Our referral process is very simple. We have a number to call, where people can be linked to a counsellor immediately, and/or to appropriate services as necessary.
I'm based out of the community mental health drug and alcohol team which is a great platform for being able to link people to the right services at the right time. Farming community counselling can help with all sorts of issues that people are facing on the land. All the way from helping with young people accessing schooling or counselling, through to accessing mental health services, drug and alcohol services, domestic violence services.
Accessing Centrelink for farm household allowance. At a recent event with Local Land Services, I was able to have a one-on-one chat with a father who's struggling financially due to his child having special needs and needing to travel great distances to access relevant services. I was able to link him in with the rural financial counsellor for some one-on-one counselling, so that they're able to look to the future with their finances.
I recently had a call from a woman who was concerned about her husband's alcohol misuse during these times of stress. We were able to discuss that, and her husband has now been linked into a local drug and alcohol counsellor for some one-on-one counselling, while she continues to see the farming community counselling for one-on-one support.
This role has given me the opportunity to work closely with many services, including but not limited to, Local Land Services, the DPI, financial rural counselling, Centrelink, Vinnies, Salvation Army and our local Mental Health Awareness Group – MHAG. The empowering our communities grants has been very beneficial to our community. The event coordinators have come from all walks of life, so the events have been very diverse. We've had everything from pamper days, through to concerts, through to mental health awareness Halloween days and a colour run for Evolution Mining.
One of the most powerful things for me during my time in this role has been observing the connection to land that our farmers have, and their passion for the land that they live and work on.
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Scott McLaclan, Chief Executive, WNSWLHD: G'day, I'm Scott the Chief Executive of Western New South Wales Local Health District. We've got a stunning region to live and work in. A region that's over 280,000 square kilometres, the size of England. With over 280,000 people that live and work in this beautiful region, we now have a network of 38 hospitals and health services. That means that we've got a fantastic opportunity to bring care closer to home for patients. Now our real challenge in this, is to make sure that the quality and standard of care is something we don't compromise on.
Dr Shannon Nott, Director, Rural Medical Services: vCare in Western New South Wales was established to be able to support our raw and remote health professionals in providing a service that ensures that patients, regardless of how unwell or how remote they are, they are going to get the same standard of care that you could get possibly in Royal North Shore in Sydney or Royal Prince Alfred, ensuring that our patients across this region are going to get optimal outcomes moving forward.
Amanda Hunter, vCare Clinical Nurse Consultant: We provide a clinical advice and support service to the Western Local Health District Hospitals, for patients that live in rural areas that don't have specialist care in those towns. We use a range of technology and system enablers to help us have eyes and ears in the in the room.
Melissa McGilvray, Nurse Unit Manager, Mudgee: We get incredibly unwell patients and people who have been in motor vehicle accidents, that need a really high level of care. And we can provide an Intensive Care level in our Emergency Department with the support of vCare. So with a doctor on the camera guiding our small team of doctors and nurses, we can run an Intensive Care in our ED, that transitions onto the helicopter, that transitions into the Base Hospital ICU, and that person doesn't have a delay in their care, just because they've had their accident in the bush.
Amanda: So the vCare team consists of a number of people. We have registered nurses, we have critical care specialists, we've got dispatch coordinators and other support staff. We've also got a non-emergency team, and we also work very closely with a number of other specialists across the district, and in tertiary facilities, that also come into the conference.
Caren Harrison, Health Service Manager, Mudgee: It provides you with that backup support. So I'm very aware that staff are at times extremely time poor. They're balancing jobs trying to prioritise. So it actually allows us to have that off-site back up, so someone else is watching what's happening with your patients. It's made a big impact in terms of who's supporting us.
Amanda: So an example of a patient journey through vCare: a gentleman presented to Cobar ED with 9 out of 10 central chest pain. They identified that that man was having a severe heart attack. They called the single point of contact for vCare, the nurse prioritised that phone call as a life-threatening referral, and invited a number of medical specialists to that phone call, including a cardiologist.
Shannon: They noticed that he was having a significant heart attack, and again the cardiologist also linked in with vCare to support the teams on the ground.
Amanda: They were able to execute a management plan for that patient, and he received clot busting medication, and we moved him with an emergency transport resource, to the best location to meet his needs.
Shannon: This gentleman within 7 minutes, 7 minutes of presenting to a hospital, received life-saving treatment.
Scott: We have the staff 24/7 available to respond to coordinate some of the best specialists both in our region and across the whole of the country.
Amanda: If vCare wasn't around in that situation, he possibly could have died because he was hundreds of kilometers from a specialist.
Shannon: Virtual medicine is not new to us. What we're doing with the Virtual Care Unit is continuing to innovate.
Scott: Our absolute dream and vision is to help people be healthier, and for our communities to thrive. With the cutting-edge technology and the new ways of working, this is our time to make a real impact. To connect people to something they can feel confident in, and to make an impact in their lives.
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