ronnie (002)

Tell us a little bit about your nursing journey.

I started my nursing journey as an Enrolled Nurse in Alice Springs Hospital in 1982.  It was the most wonderful introduction into nursing, and I was fortunate enough to transfer to Darwin to join the last Royal Darwin Hospital group in 1986.  My passion for Emergency Nursing was sparked in the early eighties and never dimmed.

The NT has 2.5 times the national average of trauma per capita, and I certainly honed my craft with multiple trauma victims, and victims of domestic violence. Sadly, I was dealing with third world health issues in a first world country. I was exposed to remote communities, tropical disease, flight nursing, midwifery, teaching, and nursing management over the years.

How did you chose your speciality NP?

ED was an immediate love affair for me. Never a dull moment, never knowing what was coming in next, and the very robust humorous staff.  We were often able to make a critical difference at the worst time in people’s lives.  The ED work saw me work though the East Timor crisis, 2 Bali Bombings, the Ashmore Reef Disaster. I am fortunate enough to be an AUSMAT member, and this allowed me to work in disaster zones in Pakistan, the Philippines, and Samoa.  I have been able to teach in Indonesia, East Timor, and East Africa.

I had the pleasure of working in an After Hours NP led clinic in front of Albany ED, where I saw us make a very big difference to minor illness and injury population in a regional area.  I was able to balance this with an ED NP position that is now a seven day a week, ten hour a day service.

I also worked casually for WA telehealth as an NP working with 2 FACEMS, and 1 GP, we covered 88 sites in WA.  This was one of the most sophisticated and invaluable additions to regional and rural health that I have ever seen. I hope to work with them again soon.

Tell us about your current role as a NP.

I am currently directing a very large team in Telehealth in Darwin. We are supporting the Howard Springs International Quarantine Facility.  We are keeping the Clinical staff out of resident rooms as much as possible by providing daily Covid screens, and emotional wellness screens. So far 6000 residents have come back to Australia through Howards Springs, with many more still to come.

My advice to potential NPs

Go for it! The road is long and arduous, but it is worth the fight in the long run. I hope positions continue to increase so you can get work.  Make sure you don’t run before you can walk. Get lots of clinical experience, in a variety of settings.  Study lots of short courses, as well as your masters. Be really well read, and informed.

Create a network of mentors you trust and respect. Do not let people crush your dream through professional jealousy or threat.

How do you think health consumers will benefit from seeing Nurse Practitioner?

Health consumers will be treated by a high functioning, well-educated health professional.  We are ideally placed to have prescribing rights, and authority to order diagnostics and therapeutics.  We also add the secret nurses’ business model to our consult, with lots of practical hints and applications.

A health consumer should leave an NP consult feeling very cared for and listened to.