What’s it like to go on a rural clinical placement?

Simin Peng_Photo by Alex McAlpin (4)

Last year, International Bachelor of Nursing student Simin Peng traveled to Alice Springs to complete a rural and remote clinical placement in the red centre of Australia!

“It was truly an unforgettable experience. I now have more insight into Australia’s Indigenous culture and history, a greater appreciation of Aboriginal traditions, and a better understanding of their health care needs and concerns.”

Simin has shared a little about her experience with us for the UTS Health blog:

Why did you choose to do a rural and remote placement in Alice Springs?

To be honest, I first chose Alice Springs because one of my friends went there for her own clinical placement. She uploaded such beautiful pictures to her Facebook. She also told me that it was an amazing experience, and that even though you may see some challenging or confronting things there, you’ll enjoy the placement and get a lot out of it. I thought it’d be a great idea to go for it, plus have some spare holiday time to see a unique part of Australia. Although I was a bit scared going by myself, it was okay because I ended up meeting friends during the placement.

How was the experience?

It was truly unforgettable.

Firstly, I felt so welcomed by the hospital. I actually had two facilitators, whereas we usually only have one. One was from Sydney, and she frequently phoned me to make sure I was okay. The other was the Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) from Alice Springs Hospital. She was lovely and approachable, and always made sure I was managing on the ward.

Secondly, I now have more insight into Australia’s Indigenous culture and history, a greater appreciation of Aboriginal traditions, and a better understanding of their health care needs and concerns. On the first day of my clinical placement, we had a one-day Aboriginal culture introduction workshop. Through this workshop, I had a chance to deepen my understanding of Australia’s First Nations people and to hear some lived experience from local Aboriginal people. This was a unique experience that I hadn’t had in any other placement.

And thirdly, during free time on the weekends, I joined local tours to Uluru, the Desert Park and the camel run. All these experiences made this placement unique and wonderful.


What did you learn?

I have a deeper insight into Australian Aboriginal culture and their experiences during hospital visits now. It provided me with a chance to understand more about their feelings and concerns during hospitalisation. This provided me with a unique experience to provide better care for them. I now understand more about the importance of being able to appreciate their culture and to provide culturally competent care for Aboriginal people. In addition, I have more understanding about how the health system works in rural and remote Australia. I have a renewed appreciation of how lucky we are to have access to a well-resourced health network in metropolitan Sydney.

Was there anything in particular that you’ve learnt in your Bachelor of Nursing that helped you while you were in Alice Springs?

The subject called ‘Contemporary Indigenous Health and Wellbeing’ provided me with basic knowledge about Indigenous health care and an awareness of the importance of cultural sensitivity when providing care for Aboriginal people. All the communication skills and clinical skills that I’ve learnt throughout my degree have also helped me to communicate and work well with the patients and staff at Alice Springs, and in general.

– Thanks Simin!

Read more about practical experience in the UTS Bachelor of Nursing

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