Lynn Bradley has worked as a nurse for over 30 years. She spent most of that time working in the public health system in hospitals, in both Sydney and rural NSW and has also worked in community facilities and the private system.

Despite Lynn’s extensive city and rural nursing experience, she says the remote nursing work is what she’s enjoyed the most.

Lynn first became interested in remote Indigenous health after watching an ABC TV program on Indigenous health in the Northern Territory which motivated her to join the RAHC program.

“I wanted to experience a different type of nursing in different areas,” Lynn said.

“Rather than the hospitals where I was currently working and had spent a lot of time, I was excited about the challenge of working remotely. I wanted to experience the culture of the Aboriginal people as well.”

Because Lynn already had a long and successful nursing career when she applied for her first RAHC placement in 2009, she was confident she would have the skills required of a remote community nurse. However she was surprised by the level of independence her role provided.

“I was confident with my skills as a nurse but in saying that you never know what you’re going to come across in remote areas as opposed to a hospital where you’ve got back up and facilities on call. The difference working in a remote setting is you’ve got very little aside from yourself and your own resources,” Lynn said. “There was still great support.”

Lynn has now undertaken six RAHC placements in the past three years, the most recent in Mount Liebig in the southwest of the Northern Territory.

“A typical day at that clinic would involve walk-ins, which is when people come in to the community clinic with whatever ailment they have at the time. This can range from a rash, a bite, a cough or a wound - it can really be anything.”

According to Lynn, one of the most rewarding parts of her placements so far is knowing the work she’s doing is benefitting the community.

“As a nurse, you really are helping the community. The fact they’re coming to you means they’re accepting you as being part of their community and they want your help.”

As for other health professionals deciding whether or not a RAHC placement is for them, Lynn believes a remote placement is something all nurses and GPs should experience.

“I’d be encouraging them all the way, absolutely.”

“The best part of my placements has been experiencing the culture and meeting the people. But another highlight is relying on my own skills as a nurse to sort out whatever happens. A remote placement is a great way for other health professionals to challenge themselves but it’s also so rewarding and stimulating.”

Lynn acknowledged the important role RAHC staff and other health professionals at the clinic play in a successful placement, and how much they contributed to her own time in the Northern Territory.

The people are amazing. The RAHC staff, people within the community and everyone you meet along the way leave lasting memories.

“The RAHC e-learning modules are also very, very good. They’re aimed at exactly what you need to know and they’re very helpful.”

“I will absolutely be undertaking more RAHC placements. It’s definitely a big part of my future.”