Meet RN Peta: The Athlete with a Green Thumb

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RN Peta

36 years nursing experience

Hailing from the Cook Islands, RN Peta fell in love with the travel nurse life after trialling it for 4 weeks on Palm Island in 2017.

Since then, she has stuck with it and done a fair share of contracts around Far North Queensland and New South Wales, leaving her mark in these beautiful locations as a green thumb or athlete.

This is her story!

How has your most recent time been in Mornington Island? 

I really enjoyed this time around compared to my first stint for the following reasons:

I got to go fishing – although I didn’t catch a fish, just being on the beach & touching the sea water was awesome.

Hailing from the Cook Islands and growing up on a remote island similar to Mornington, I got to use my island skills in opening drinking nuts from a coconut tree with a paring knife.

I’m a person who saves the environment, and nothing is recycled on Mornington. I managed to get a compost pit made of foam eskies.

With staff food provided by the hospital, I encouraged them to bring their vegetable scraps to the pit. Before I left, I advised the staff it should be ready to fertilize the trees and plants in 3 months.

There were also pawpaw and chilly shoots that were grown in pots by previous nurses. I thought the least I could do is put them into the ground that can be enjoyed by future nurses 😃



Mind you, planting was not that easy on Mornington. The ground is so dry and hard, so it would take 2 – 3 days to actually plant one shoot, because there’s a lot of digging and filling holes with water to soften the soil until it’s deep enough to plant.

I am hoping to return to Mornington at some point to check or enjoy the fruits from the trees I planted.

You’ve worked in a mix of NSW and QLD facilities! What have been your favourite things to do?

I am an athlete, and running parkruns are my favourite thing to do when they’re available at the locations I’m at. I signed up with parkrun when I was at Cobar, NSW in 2019.

Parkrun is a weekly, timed 5km event held every Saturday morning at more than 2000 locations in 23 countries, with over 400 in Australia.

I enjoy parkruns because I am competing with other runners, which motivates me to run my best. Once completed, I receive an email with my result and congratulated if I have achieved a personal best (PB). My PB in Cobar is 34 minutes!

Tamworth was my 2nd contract that I did parkrun. Apart from the Saturday parkruns, I joined a fitness group called the Fitness Fun Friendship (FFF) where after the parkruns, we meet at the Strings & Beans Cafe for breakfast.

I always look forward to the breakfasts because I get to have a meal with others compared to having breakfast alone at the dormitory.

Those who achieved PBs were also celebrated at breakfast. I achieved 3 PBs in Tamworth, with 29.40min being my last PB before I left. I also participated in the 15km Blazer Trail, a run/walk around Tamworth mountains.

With FFF, I got to join walks with the group to popular sites like Tamworth Lookout in Marsupial.

What kind of differences have you seen with living & working in rural locations?  

Living and working in a rural location has several benefits:

I get to travel and explore the remote areas, all paid for by Affinity. Accommodation is free, modern, self-contained and safe.

On Mornington Island, I was accommodated in a single unit, with 1 bedroom with a double bed, laundry room with washing machine & dryer, shower & toilet, kitchen, lounge, and a deck.

Out of all my contracts, apart from free accommodation, Mornington also provide food and water for staff at no cost.

I got to save most of my earnings as there weren’t many places, shops or fast food outlets to spend at.

What do you enjoy most about agency nurse life?  

I just enjoy the flexibility of the travel nurse lifestyle.

I can either be working, or on holiday whenever suits me. I felt as a travel nurse, I’m actually in control of my life and nursing career, compared to being a full-time nurse employed by a healthcare organisation.

I have been frustrated numerous times while working for healthcare organisations when it comes to applying for annual leave you are entitled to, only to be told I can’t take leave now, even if I apply well in advance.

Since I took up travel nursing in 2017 on Palm Island, I was trialing it to see if I would enjoy it, and I never looked back. I’m enjoying every contract I take, and I only wished that I had known about it 10 years ago.

What is a favourite photo you have taken? What’s the story behind it?

This was taken at Obon Beach on Aurukun.

The story is, “Only in Aurukun that you get to touch the sun” 😊😊😊

What advice would you give other nurses who want to do travel nursing?

Come and be a travel nurse.

I had a full-time job in New Zealand for 9 years and saved my annual leave in 2017 and gave it a go for 4 weeks on Palm Island.

After the 4 weeks, I knew this was what I wanted to do with what was left of my nursing career. This is the only nursing position that you get paid to travel and explore.

Does RN Peta’s story get more inspiring than this? Start travel nursing with Affinity today and let’s see where you can go! 


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