Lynda Murphy has been working as a registered nurse for almost 35 years.  She has spent a large part of her nursing career working in intensive care and emergency departments, along with stints in London and Africa.  It was her time in Africa which gave her a taste of working in remote or disadvantaged communities and sparked her interest in remote nursing back home.

“I’ve always had an interest in rural and remote nursing. Now that my children are adults I knew this would be the ideal time to get involved,” Lynda said.

“I thought the best way to become involved in rural and remote nursing would be to educate myself as best as possible so that’s why I enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Rural and Remote Health at Flinders University.”

To help her along her path to remote nursing, Lynda contacted Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC) to see what opportunities were available for working in remote communities in the Northern Territory.

“I applied for a RAHC placement because I thought it would be great to get some experience while I was studying. Undertaking my first placement was just fantastic; it really allowed me to use the skills that I was learning as part of my course.”

Lynda has now completed two RAHC placements and is about to undertake her third. She says the skills she uses in her placements help build on the theory she is studying.

Her efforts have recently been recognised by Healthcare Australia with Lynda receiving an award for Advanced Nursing Practice. The award acknowledged her outstanding grades and input in the classroom.

 “When I received the award at the CRANAPlus Conference I was blown away. The $1,250 I won has actually paid for my Advanced Nursing Practice course, so I just feel really lucky.”

Lynda says it’s great to be recognised for her interest in remote health and her passion for working with Indigenous people, although having not nominated herself for the award, Lynda says winning “absolutely blew me away”.

“Everyone at RAHC has been really supportive and the placements have been great because I’m able to use my clinical skills along with the theory I’ve learnt.”

Lynda is currently completing the RAHC CPR course online and she says the RAHC cultural component is also worth undertaking for any practitioner looking to work remotely in the Northern Territory.

“There are some really great learning tools on the RAHC website and I’d recommend anyone planning on working as a health professional in the Northern Territory to take a look at what’s available.”

Lynda says the best part of her remote nursing experience was meeting the Indigenous people within the community.

“It’s a privilege working in a clinic in an Indigenous community, and I could really put the theory I have been learning in to practice. When you are working in a remote community you really are required to have such a broad set of skills.

“Indigenous health is very complex and when you have a small win you celebrate them. There is no quick fix but if you can aim to try to build healthy communities and actually empower people to have a say in their health, I think that’s just fantastic.

“Working in a remote community really makes you feel part of a bigger picture.”

This article was originally published in issue 88 of CRANAplus Magazine in December 2012.