Finding my space in rural primary health care – a Friends ‘My Place’ story

  • Cowra main street
    Cowra main street. Photo Cowra Guardian

CC BY-SA 4.0

I grew up in a small rural town called Nyngan in central New South Wales. Ever since I can remember I wanted to be a nurse. My mum didn’t think I was strong enough and as a shy, introverted country girl I can understand why.

I worked at the local hospital and loved it; helping people and being a part of their lives. My mum was relieved to learn that I loved it after my first nursing experience.

I trained at Bathurst and then worked at Hornsby hospital for 10 years before moving to Orange Base Hospital where I met my husband (we both worked in the emergency department there).

We moved to a Cowra in New South Wales and, after a couple of years working at the hospital, I was asked by one of the local general practices to do six weeks of sick leave cover. I had never worked as a primary health care nurse but decided to give it a crack. After the six weeks ended, I was asked to stay on and run their diabetes clinic.

So now I am still working as a diabetes educator in general practice land. I love the hours and flexibility but felt I didn’t have enough professional support from other nurses working in the field, so I started a Facebook group called Diabetes Nurse Network. I wanted to start a group that was open to nurses no matter where they worked - in a hospital, primary health care or private practice. I am loving the support and knowledge from those in the group and the varied level of experience. Nurses are awesome people.

Rural nursing is great. We are in a privileged position, to not make people better but to help them look after themselves and have the best health they can manage (and I don’t really mind being approached by patients in the supermarket who want to tell me their latest HbA1c blood glucose test result).

Jennifer Richmond is a Registered Nurse, based in Cowra NSW. Her story was submitted by the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association.

Showcasing the diversity of life in rural and remote Australian, in the Friends 'My Place: where I live and work' series, members of Friends of the Alliance talk about their life and work and what's special about where they live.


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