Have you ever wondered what it would be like to Nurse on an Island? Have you ever visited Bruny Island in Tasmania? Sue Walker and I recently had the pleasure of visiting Bruny Island and meeting with Tracy Hemmings (Site / Nurse Unit Manager) and Laura Callaghan the Clinical Nurse Consultant at the Bruny Island Community Health Centre. Nurses are busy people, and meeting Tracy and Laura reminded me of how versatile and how effective Nurses are at juggling multiple tasks and priorities – often across different geographical locations and sites.
Tracy and Laura conduct their roles across multiple service sites including Huon, Cygnet and of course the Bruny Island Community Health Centre. The population that the services cover across these sites is approximately 74,000. The island has a permanent population of approximately 650 people, but during the peak period from September to April, the island population swells to around 3500.
The Bruny Island Community Health Centre provides a wide range of services including, but not exclusive to the following:
- Emergency response Unit 24/7
- GP service – 2 days each week
- Palliative Care
- Wound Care Clinic
- The service also provides access to allied health services including physiotherapy, podiatry, a dietician, diabetes management, and access to specialised mental health services a dental van and also Breast Screening services
- There is a strong commitment to public health and a great walking program is in place as part of the Islands health promotion program
The centre deals with 2- 3 emergencies each week and transports to the mainland 3- 4 patients each month via helicopter or by water transport. The service at Bruny Island has 5 part time Nursing Staff.
The service has recently been through accreditation and was recognised by the surveyors for its ongoing commitment to community engagement and change management initiatives. It was great to visit a service where you could see demonstrable and sustained commitment to quality !
Tracy and Laura are very passionate about community support and engagement and are successfully rolling out an initiative The Right Place . The Right Place “is about connecting people to the right service”. Its about addressing locally identified needs which I’m confident are needs which could be found in most parts of Australia. The rollout of this initiative commenced in the Huon Valley local government area. Its about ensuring that people are referred to the right service, in the right place at the right time. There is a strong focus on improving service providers and the community members knowledge of services that are available. It also includes the use of offering health passports, and local business participants offering to contact the relevant service on behalf of the person who is seeking information or assistance.
These Busy Nurses are also facilitating the implementation of the Future Directions project through Huonville which has a strong focus on effective teenager health related education via focused fun and engaging activities.
Visiting Bruny has re confirmed that Nurses in Australia do have fabulous opportunities’ to travel and work in healthcare across a wide range of geographical locations and diverse community groups and most importantly to make sustained positive differences in the lives of clients and patients ! A huge thanks to Tracy and Laura for giving us a glimpse of what a Nurses working life is like on Bruny Island!
Ps The island is lovely with loads of ‘Wow” moments due to the fabulous views, the wildlife and the Oysters which abound!
If you would like to see more visit Bruny Island Community Health Centre