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Things you need to know before you start work as a remote nurse at Burringurrah

OK, I've been here for one month now. I've got some words of wisdom to pass on.

When you come out to Burringurrah you can choose to drive your own car or use a WA Community Health Service car. I didn't have an option because I don't own a car, but having driven the road from Burringurrah to Carnarvon and back, I'd probably suggest not putting your personal car through that if you can help it. The roads are mostly hard dirt roads so there's LOTS of dust, and the dead insects not only stick to the front grille and headlights, they get through to the inner grill and literally cover it. I have no idea how to get dead grasshoppers off the inner grill, but it probably has to wait until car detailing time. Save all this bother by driving your employer's car.

You kind of need to know how to change a tyre before you take off anywhere. No one will tell you this. There is also no one formally allocated to check the engine. Knowing how to check oil and water and windscreen washer is pretty easy. If you don't know, get someone to teach you before you come out here. I drove the hospital station wagon with a spare under the boot, and another spare tyre lying free in the boot. I understand that having two tyres is a precaution, but I can just imagine the second one flying through the car and hitting me in the head if I had an accident. I recently completed a driving safety course for remote driving, paid for by WACHS, but I didn't attend it until I'd driven the 6hrs to attend the course.

It's scary traveling isolated roads by yourself as a female. In the back of your mind, there is always murder. And yes, it's all men. Any man in a car is a potential murderer. For the majority of the journey between Burringurrah and Carnarvon, you are basically on your own. Passing another car every hour is about normal. Don't forget to put your finger up or wave as they pass, that seems to be the etiquette. Like me, you may want to get out and enjoy some of the landmarks...there are many. So much to see, and so little time - someone is always waiting for your safe arrival at the other end. So add an hour or two to your estimated journey time so you can get out of the car and see the sights. There are places to swim (Rocky Pool 30km out of Carnarvon - you really need a day for this), fossils to look at (300 million years ago the Gasgoyne region was a sea), signs drawn by the Wajarri people of long ago to alert other travelers to hidden water pools in what seems to be a dry and barren landscape.

Another good bit of advice. You may want to apply for all of your allowances before you start your position. Working remotely entitles you to a 25% loading on your pay (in place of overtime) each fortnight. I needed to apply for this once I had commenced my remote position. My request for an allowance for my qualification, a Master of Public Health, needs to be reviewed because it doesn't fit into the list of qualifications that are standardly accepted. The review will take about 2 months. So get in early and ask about all this upfront so you have all your requests submitted before you start work.

That's about all I have at this stage. So far I'm really enjoying the experience. It is so insanely different from any other work I've done as a nurse. The landscape is beautiful. It does take some time to work out the processes, but that's the same for any new job. The doctors and allied health fly out once every two weeks. That's a busy day. That's tomorrow.

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