2012 Scholarships

WIL placement in NT

In 2012 ACEN was delighted to award five student scholarships to students doing their WIL placement in rural and remote locations. The recipients are asked to describe their experiences. Here’s a delightful one …

Dear ACEN,

My name is Hayley, and I have recently had the honour of accepting an ACEN Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Scholarship. I am currently situated at the Department of Health in Darwin, NT and it is the last day of my Community and Public Health placement for the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics through Flinders University. This is also the last of three placements that I need to complete before I can receive my degree. Over the past two months I have been situated 3000km away from my home base in Adelaide, and have been lucky to experience three trips to a remote Aboriginal community called Nganmarriyanga. This community is approximately 450km from Darwin, reached by charter plane or a five hour 4WD trek.

My placement has involved working with Nganmarriyanga residents within their community driven initiative Ngangers Bangers, a program that began earlier this year to make sausages on their cattle station; the oldest station in Australia. Working on Ngangers Bangers exposed me to many areas I have never experienced before, the foremost being life in a remote Aboriginal community. I worked alongside teachers (and project managers) to deliver education sessions to middle-year students, who will learn the process of making healthy sausages in the future. These education sessions covered nutrition, hygiene and food handling, and included visual and participatory methods to engage students, and a resource was also developed for the teachers that enabled them to guide the production of healthy sausages and design promotional materials that abided by food labelling legislation.

Fear dominated the initial feelings about visiting the community. I did not know what to expect from the place, the people, or the business I was to work with. However, I learned that relationship building and cultural awareness were crucial in my adaptation to the remote lifestyle. A friendly smile, patience and active listening on my part helped people to trust me, and each time I returned to the community I felt more involved and passionate about the people and the work I was doing. Now, I cannot imagine going back home to Adelaide, to never experience Palumpa community again. For me, it is the life experience I have gained from this remote placement that has impacted the most upon my education.

A placement such as this one opens up a whole new world. I would never have considered working in a remote community before undertaking this placement.

Applying for the ACEN scholarship was a no-brainer. I have realised that ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ or so my father would say. Demonstrating financial hardship was an eye-opening experience, as it made me realise how much I was going to struggle over my two-month placement. Initially, I thought to get a casual job in Darwin, stocking shelves at a supermarket but looking back now I am glad I didn’t. I hardly had time to rest, let alone work in my spare time. I was lucky enough to spend a few days visiting cultural exhibitions and experiencing the Northern Territory, but spent the rest of my time finishing off assignments for other areas of my degree. Since my Centrelink benefits ended earlier this year, and my casual workplace in Adelaide closed recently, I have had no income at all for two months. Asking for help from my parents was not an option, as I am nearly thirty years old and should not be relying on them for assistance, even if they could offer it.

The ACEN scholarship will help me in more ways than I can count. I was not afraid to use my credit card when it came time because I knew the scholarship would be arriving soon. This meant that my time in the NT was stress-free, and I was able to concentrate more thoroughly on areas of importance, such as my work with Ngangers Bangers, my help in the planning and implementation of other nutrition related projects, and my presentations to the department to further my colleagues personal development.The money has been used for transport and other costs of living, including regular bills and food. It has meant that I could budget for food bought in Palumpa at the high price seen in these remote stores. It also meant that I could continue to stay here and learn, even when my money ran out. Without ACEN, I would not be standing in the shoes of someone with a new life experience that will be of benefit for a long time into the future. Not only has it opened my mind and instilled a new sense of independence within me, but it has broadened my horizons and my job prospects. This type of experience is once in a lifetime, and I have ACEN to thank for the enjoyment and personal development I have experienced during this remote placement.Thankyou Kind Regards, Hayley.

WIL placement Port Lincoln

Hello everyone at Australian Collaborative Education Network,

My name is Leah, and I am a 22 year old, third year nursing student from Flinders University in Adelaide. Firstly, I would like to thank you for your choosing me as a recipient of this fantastic scholarship for my placement in Port Lincoln, South Australia.Port Lincoln is rural fishing town, located on the Eyre Peninsula approximately 8.5 hours from Adelaide (by car). Whilst I am here I will be working in many areas including emergency, theatre, recovery, palliative care, midwifery, general medical and surgical nursing. I am also looking forward to working with the Indigenous population of Port Lincoln in their Aboriginal Health unit and helping in patient retrievals with the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

It is only early days yet as my placement just started on the 15th of October, but so far my experiences of the town and hospital have been incredible. The town itself, is picturesque and the people of the community are some of the most friendliest/grateful people i have ever met. In regards to the hospital, I have come to really appreciate what supplies the nurses have to work with out here, it is nowhere near as luxurious as we have it in Adelaide but to the nurses credit, they make it work and I applaud their diversity. Also in regards to the nurses, I honestly believe that what the Port Lincoln Health Services nurses don’t know, is not worth knowing. Everyone is so knowledgeable and what is even better is that they are willing to share their knowledge with me. Everyone has been very supportive and welcoming, I almost feel celebrity-like as everyone around the hospital and most people around town have heard I am here and are very happy that I am here, ‘helping them out’.

I am currently doing a rotation in Accident and Emergency and I have already learnt so much, I know that I will really enjoy my time here and learn A LOT.With the money i have been given through the Work Integrated Learning scholarship, I was able to afford to undertake this amazing opportunity of this country placement as without the funding i simply couldn’t afford it.

I cannot thankyou enough as I will receive priceless skills (both in regards to nursing and interpersonal), which I can carry with me throughout my nursing career and which will undoubtedly make me a better nurse in the future. The scholarship funding has also allowed me to pay for direct flights to Port Lincoln and back to Adelaide meaning that I will not have to drive my car (which would have most likely not made it!!), bond/accommodation 15 minutes walk from Port Lincoln hospital, weekly food shopping and will also make up for lost wages.Due to the extra income I have received from ACEN, I was also able to use my own savings to indulge in some of Australia’s best seafood (Port Lincoln is Australia’s seafood capital) and I also plan to go shark cage diving in the upcoming weeks. Wish me luck!! I cannot thankyou enough for giving me this chance to undertake such a life/career changing placement. Please see my attached photos of the town, they were taken on my phone so they might not be very good quality!

Kind Regards Leah

stedmanWIL placement Coolah to Timboon

Thanks to the ACEN, I was fortunate enough to receive one of the Student Scholarships for extramural university placement this year. I am currently in my fifth year of a Bachelor of Veterinary Science/Veterinary Biology at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, NSW; this stage of the degree is very ‘hands on’, and required me to undertake 15 weeks of extramural placement this year. As I have a strong interest in dairy, beef and mixed practice, I chose placements at private veterinary practices where these caseloads predominate.

This meant I was up for much travelling! The scholarship has enabled me to travel to regional areas around NSW and Victoria, from Coolah in northern NSW to Timboon in western Victoria. The experience I have been able to gain at these practices is unique to rural practice, and extremely valuable in preparing me for a career in rural veterinary medicine. The financial assistance provided by ACEN assisted in the substantial travel and accommodation expenses, ensuring that my extramural study experience was as smooth and educational as possible.

Elizabeth, Charles Sturt University B. Vet Sci/Vet Biol. 2013