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The move

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

About three weeks ago I made a rather snap decision to make a move from my home of Melbourne where I've lived for the past five years, to take up an offer to work in remote Western Australia. I'd phoned a recently ex-colleague to enquire how her position in the small Aboriginal community of Burringurrah (pronounced B'oo'ringurrah as in book) was going, and as luck would have it, she told me there was a current vacancy working alongside her as a community nurse. Burringurrah is about 470km inland from Carnarvon, Western Australia and has been the home to the Wajarri people for millennia. Population is roughly 50 Aboriginal people at the moment, but numbers rise and fall depending on school holidays and who is visiting who either in or out of the community.

The decision to move was made easy for a number of reasons, not least of which was the fact that I was currently homeless. I'd decided to save some money to buy a van to live in, so I had been living between my daughter's home, my son's home and my brothers home since the beginning of the year, and I had planned to continue doing so until I had enough money saved to buy an old Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit. Other reasons included: not really enjoying either of my part-time jobs; difficulty packing overnight bags and carrying them on my pushbike between destinations because I don't own a car; my three sons who live together were getting annoyed at me for being appalled at how they kept their house, and; I was feeling a bit discombobulated with the whole exercise of homelessness to save money, and I was only six weeks into it.

So, with nothing to pack up I decided to come over! And here I am in quarantine, thanks to Victoria being the only state deemed low risk for covid-19 transmission, but high enough risk to warrant the need for Victorians to isolate in Western Australia before being let out into the public. I can't complain though. My employer is paying for my accommodation which is great, and the hotel room I'm in is large and comfortable with a balcony, kitchen, laundry and a bit of a view. Today is day 9 out of 14.

From here I'll head to Canarvon to work in the hospital emergency department for a week, where I assume I will re-learn some 'real' nursing skills that I've long forgotten. Having spent the last three years working in community nursing in Melbourne, and the ten years before that working in non-clinical research roles in Melbourne and Brisbane, there are a quite a few competencies I need to brush up on. So I guess I will be doing some cannulation, getting some competencies checked off, and re-learning the art of patient triage. From there I'm off the Burringurrah.

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