A Journey with the Rural Locum Assistance Program: Judi’s story

Judi commented on the friendliness of the people in the regions she visited and the opportunity to travel to beautiful locations such as the Murray Mallee region of South Australia. (photo by Judi Dyer)

Inside Ageing recently spoke with Judi Dyer, an experienced ED Nurse from New Zealand, who shared some information about her nurse placement experience with the Rural Locum Assistance Program (Rural LAP).

Judi initially started working with an Australian nursing agency, in a bid to get accustomed to the Australian healthcare system, which can differ from that of New Zealand.

After a short tenure with the agency, she commenced with Rural LAP and has found the experience to be a ‘game-changer’.

“Unlike the agency, Rural LAP was excellent with communication and support right from the start. They provided a car and my own accommodation where I didn’t need to share, which is important at my age given I want my independence.

“They also arranged flights and travel from my door here in NZ and simplified the logistics – they made it so easy,” Judi added.

She praised Rural LAP for their support, mentioning Vanessa, Angela and Erin, along with a new support person by the name of Luke, who collectively provided assistance from the initial point of contact right through to the end of a placement.

She emphasised the need for confidence in nursing skills, especially when working alone in a rural or regional facility, where you can be the only RN on duty.

“A lot of the facilities are Multi-Purpose Services (MPS) (Aged care and ED), so you need to be able to make decisions and prioritise tasks. Having worked as a senior ED/ICU nurse, is a useful background, especially when it comes to assessments and documentation,” Judi added.

Despite being away from home and dealing with occasional challenges like the need to change accommodation, Judi found many upsides to her experience, such as financial rewards, travel opportunities, and meeting new people. She has been able to save money for trips to the USA, Alaska, and Canada.

When asked about any potential downsides of the program, Judi mentioned being away from home and family and the need to find space at the cattery for her beloved cat. She highlighted the need to be open-minded when working with a diverse group of people as an important consideration.

An unexpected perspective on aged care

An unexpected discovery in Judi’s journey was her venture into aged care. Despite initial reservations, her experience at a 90-bed facility in South Australia and a MPS on King Island left her with a very positive experience and has been a big part of her decision to return for multiple placements.

“My experience as an ED Nurse, including time spent working in the NZ prison system, meant that I never thought of working in aged care. I am surprised at just how much I enjoyed it.”

Judi Dyer

Judi spoke fondly of South Australia and her time in Renmark, allowing for travel to various parts, including the Barossa Valley and Murray River Region.

Most of the placements Judi has undertaken have been for between 3 – 12 weeks, allowing the opportunity to also maintain a casual roster in New Zealand at a facility where she has been employed for a long time.

She plans to return to South Australia for another posting soon…

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