Meet RN Jodie – The NZ RN transitioning into remote area nursing in Australia


5min read

RN Jodie

10 years nursing experience

What has made RN Jodie, a NZ ED nurse, enjoy the transition into a RAN and supporting the most remote communities in Australia? She has discovered a new way of nursing she absolutely loves.

While remote nursing can be challenging, read on to learn about how she copes and how it has sparked her passion for nursing again.

1.Tell us a bit about your nursing background.

I have been nursing for about 10 years now. I obtained my degree at CPIT (now known as ARA in Christchurch NZ). My first job was at Southern Cross Hospital, a private surgical hospital in CHCH. I spent 3 years there and absolutely loved it! I looked after patients of all ages and all sorts of surgeries – from plastic surgery to orthopaedic, ENT, and large bowel surgeries.

Towards the end of my time at Southern Cross I started working in the High Dependency Unit and fell in love with critical care. From there, I wanted to work in the Emergency Department, gain experience, further my skills and challenge myself in critical care.

I was then lucky enough to be offered a job in CHCH ED. The next 9 years were filled with laughter, tears, highs, and lows, but I wouldn’t change a single minute of it. The team I worked with was amazing!

They always had my back and always were there to help. The skills and knowledge that I gained from my time in ED have prepared me so much for the work that I am doing now.

2. Why did you decide to start agency nursing in Australia?  

As much as I loved my job in ED, I was starting to experience burnout and compassion fatigue. I have always said to myself that if I ever start feeling like that, I need to change things up, because at the end of the day, if I’m exhausted, then the patients and their families aren’t getting 100% from me, which they deserve.

Agency nursing sounded like a great way to not only see Australia, but to work in all different types of environments and see what clicks.

3.You’ve worked in a few rural hospitals previously – Why did you decide to work remotely, and what are the main differences?

Initially, my placements were mostly in rural EDs across the country. I loved each one I went to, and the people and communities I met along the way were amazing.

However, I then received an email advertising Remote Area Nursing which immediately sparked my interest. The more I learned what it involved, the more excited I was! I wanted to be more autonomous in my practice and expand my knowledge and skill base, and RAN seemed to be the way forward.

4. Working remotely can have a lot of challenges, especially the language barriers and the cultural challenges. How did you prepare yourself for that?

Yes, remote nursing is a lot different from rural hospitals but it is also an amazing experience!

Before I did my first remote contract, I did a lot of reading in regards to Indigenous culture and customs. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to offend or upset anyone in the communities I was going to be working in.

However, no amount of reading can prepare you for actually being in the community. The clinic I first worked in, Amata SA, was so supportive! The locals welcomed me into the community so easily.

The health workers and support workers took time to teach me about the culture, phrases and words from the language, which I was so grateful for – it certainly helped me bond with the community a bit more.

5. What kind of benefits have you seen with living and working in a remote location?

The benefits I have found living and working remotely are that I have learned to appreciate the people that are in my life (I know it sounds corny). When away from your friends and family, you realise how important they are and how they helped you along your journey to get where you are.

Also, I have got back into reading – there’s not a lot to do in the evenings in remote communities! The people I have met along the way and the friendships I have made have been some of the best! The nurses have been so welcoming and supportive of me coming in for weeks/months at a time, and they always made me feel included.

But the biggest benefit I have found is that RAN has sparked my passion for nursing again. It’s been a while since I was excited to go to work, but that’s how I feel every day on placement.

6. What are some of your fondest memories of Lockhart River and APY Lands?

Some of fondest memories of working and living in Amata and Lockhart River are:

  • Seeing wild camels when we drove through the APY lands to go to Cave Hill – an ancient cave that has years and years of paintings inside all over the walls.
    It was truly amazing to see these paintings, some of which were thousands of years old.
  • Making friends with the children in both Amata and Lockhart River, and all the cuddles that come with it! 
  • Seeing the kids in Lockhart River riding the wild horses down the street. 

7. You are on your 5th placement with us – what has been the highlight working with Affinity so far?

The highlight of my time with Affinity has to be my placement in Amata – it opened my eyes to how amazing their culture is. The people showed me such kindness and love whilst I was there.

Whilst working in Amata, my skills and knowledge grew, and I was introduced to a new way of nursing that I absolutely love!

8. What advice would you give other nurses who want to do remote area nursing?

My advice to other nurses wanting to try remote nursing is to make sure that you are ok with being by yourself – I can get lonely in these places. Make sure you have a solid support network around you, and don’t hesitate to put your hand up and ask for help.

Go into every placement with an open mind! And be enthusiastic and grateful for the unique experience you will be undertaking.

Remote nursing can be an extremely rewarding experience both professionally and personally. It can also have its challenges. You’ll draw on all your grit, wisdom and passions, and have a rock-solid support system.

Our focus is to ensure you are supported holistically whilst on your journey working through rural and remote locations. Feel supported and empowered by Affinity whilst you deliver positive health outcomes to the community you serve.

Join our growing network and team of budding Remote Area Nurses (RANs)!

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