Rural Health Workforce Australia is the peak body for the state and territory Rural Workforce Agencies. Our not-for-profit Network attracts, recruits and supports health professionals for rural and remote communities.

making healthcare accessible

Nurse goes rural and loves it

Going rural has been the perfect tonic for graduate nurse Susie Schaumburg.

She is loving life and learning since making the move from Townsville to Cloncurry, a town of 3,000 people in north-west Queensland.

"Everybody is welcomed into this community with open arms," says Susie, adding it's the best and most enjoyable career decision she's ever made.

"I find I have all the support I need from very experienced clinical nurses, the wonderful local doctors we have here and my line managers. I am given every opportunity to learn and experience new things."

Based at the local hospital, Susie is picking up the skills which she hopes will one day set her up to work in a remote clinic visiting people in their communities and on remote properties. Her goal is to promote wellness and prevent disease by ensuring people have access to health care.

For the time being, there is plenty to focus on at Cloncurry Hospital, including paediatric patients, post-surgical, pre-surgical, elderly, Indigenous and mental health patients.

Working at the coalface in accident and emergency has also helped to sharpen her skills very quickly.

"Because we have a large mining community we see many presentations from mine workers, some with amputations or lacerations or other serious workplace injuries," Susie says.

Then there have been the presentations from car accidents, falls from quad bikes, motor bikes and horses. "These can present with fractures, head injuries and internal injuries. After we stabilise the patient, we arrange for the Royal Flying Doctor to fly them to a larger hospital."

While clearly concerned for the patients, Susie considers herself fortunate to have experienced such a variety of clinical situations in a relatively short time (9 months).

"I know that most graduate nurses love the work and lifestyle so much that they do stay in this region for years," she says. "Because you experience so many different aspects of nursing in a smaller hospital, you tend to become multi-skilled quite quickly. It gives you a strong platform to develop your career."

The social side of life in Cloncurry has its rewards, too.

"It's a very, very social town," says Susie. "You could find yourself being invited out every night of the week! The racing and rodeo calendar also keeps you very busy."

The hospital has a netball and volleyball team, and Susie often heads out with friends to the picturesque local dam where they go water-skiing, swimming and use their paddle boards.

"My only regret is that I did not do this 10 years earlier," she says. "I love coming to work every day and I have made some lifelong friends."

  • Nurses considering a rural or remote career should check out the Rural Health Professionals Programme. Please note that more than 50 per cent of the role must be in primary health service delivery.

Posted: December 2015