Rural health students have been meeting in Alice Springs.
Thanks to Shannon Nott, Co-Chair of the National Rural Health Students’ Network, for sending in this report:
“More than 350 health students arrived en mass to beautiful Alice Springs last week, to learn about what it is like to work and live rural and remote health. This conference is the 12th conference run by the National Rural Health Students’ Network, a multi-professional student organisation representing over 9,000 students across the country.
The conference was kicked off with The Honourable Warren Snowden discussing Federal initiatives that have been put in place to assist students on placements and further develop the rural health work force and to open the conference. We got the students to put their painted handprints on a large canvas banner, symbolic of our commitment to health equality in the near future (see photo below).
Sabina Knight, one of Australia’s most prominent and well respected Remote Area Nurses, informed students that they need to remember that nursing in isolated areas is a lifestyle and not a just a job. They would face a number of challenges in this work environment, but the rewards in job satisfaction far outweigh these difficulties. Sabina is always an inspiring speaker at our conferences, and a very popular role model for our students.
Andrew “Robbo” Roberts , a remote area pharmacist made the decision to drive the 2000 km round trip to give us a real insight into what the issues were surrounding rural health care. He brought the bleak Indigenous health issues into perspective and underlined the importance of a multi-professional approach to health care.
Later in the day we were addressed by Malarndirri McCarthy, a local to the Booroloola region in the Top End, who has been a fantastic advocate for her community and people.
Louise Lawler, a remote area nurse with 13 years experience in the Torres Strait Islands, ran a workshop on the film ‘A Dying Shame’ focussing on the issues of her local community. Students found this very engaging and thought provoking, and I’m sure a few pre-conceptions were challenged.
John Wakerman, Director of the Centre for Remote Health, Andrew Phillips, a policy advisor also with the National Rural Health Alliance, and Amanda Francis, an alumnus of our student network, currently working in the Alice Springs Hospital as a nurse rounded out a very busy and full day.
One of the highlights of the day was Cassie Williams, accompanied by family members including our MC Ernie Dingo, performing straight after lunch, to which a lot of the student delegates got up and danced down the front of the stage.”
Thanks to Bob Gosford (a fellow Crikey blogger at The Northern Myth) for providing this photo.
Shannon Nott (L), Warren Snowdon, and Jasmine Banner joined hundreds of other conference attendees in placing their hands on the conference banner to show their commitment to closing the gap in Indigenous health outcomes.