Jacqui - Remote Aged Care

Jacqui - Remote Aged Care

Jacqui is a proud Bush RN and Facility Manager of a Remote Area Aged Care Facility. We are very excited to find out more about this unique career.

Hi Jacqui, Thanks for agreeing to chat with me. If you don't mind starting out by telling me a little bit about yourself and what you do?

I'm an RN & Facility Manager of a Remote Aged Care Facility. Nursed In Indigenous Remote Communities, nursed as Civilian in the ADF. Been a RN for more years than I'd like to admit 🤣

Haha sounds like you have had an interesting career. Where did you start out your career?

Brisbane, Toowoomba

And what was your first role as a nurse?

RN medical wards

What is your favourite thing about being a nurse?

Being a part of my residents life and their families when they need me to help them on the journey that they are facing. Making the Facility their home. Comradeship of the nursing community.

Is a real privilege to play a part in so many lives. Can you tell me about a typical day, if there is one, in the life of a remote aged care facility manager?

The thing about my job in remote is that staff are all away from family and friends so one minute your their boss next counselor, then mum. The residents are no trouble at all. Stock arriving is a major problem. If it misses our barge we have to try and do without, get it on a plane or a charter. Budget concerns are a real headache.

Oh wow so as if aged care isn't busy enough you have all those extra concerns as well. How many residents do you have and how many staff? Do people tend to stick around or do they stay a while and then go back to family?

We have FIFO staff. Mainly Agency atm due to staff shortages. It's a 15 bed facility but I have only opened 11 beds due to staff numbers. 3 per day 12/24 shift, plus me. 12/24 ND with 2 on duty. Overtime bill is killing me.

Wow I never thought about FIFO being a thing for nurses that's amazing. And the residents there are they locals, do they have family close by or do they tend to be a bit isolated?

All local indigenous. Family here. I'm working hard to get Community involved. I arranged yesterday for elevated gardens to be built and filled with bush tucker and soil from their country.

That sounds just awesome! What would you say is the best thing and the worst thing about being remote?

Best- you become part of the community, you become more resilient, you become family and look after each other with your work colleagues, you become so close to those you care for and their families. Which is also harder when you loose them. You learn to fix things and work with what you've got. Worst- no privacy, no shops, away from friends and family, your it at times. Support hrs away. If your orders don't arrive you can be really buggered.

Have you ever been stuck in a really hectic situation where the support you needed was not accessible? And how do you manage in those kinds of situations?

Of god yes, and you have to fight to get the help you need at times. No Drs in remote localities makes it tougher. But you just fight till you get what is needed for your pts or your staff.

That does sound like it would be exhausting sometimes. If someone came to you and said they were thinking about making the move rural what advice would you give them?

You need to be able to think out of the box. Be ok to be away from the ones you love. Like only working and making your own entertainment. Be willing to join in with your community. Be strong in yourself as it gets bloody lonely at times. Love nursing. Have good supports. Make sure you work for a great company. Be ok to have no hairdresser or descent coffee 🤣 Love your job, as it is all you have basically. Be a team player.

Awesome advice! Is there anything else you would like to share in this interview or chat about?

Just that I wouldn't come back to the big smoke. Nothing better than being a Remote Nurse. I am proud of what I do and the difference I make to not alone my pts but my Community.

Thank you so much for sharing with me :-)

If you would like to be interviewed or write a guest post for the Nurse Life blog please get in contact at nurselifeaus@gmail.com

Stay safe brothers and sisters!

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