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Remote health care for outback teachers

Remote healthcare can be limited.

Your remote community may have a regional hospital, a clinic that is staffed by staff in community, a clinic that is not staffed full time, or no clinic at all.

You may have access to travelling specialists, you may have access to video calls with specialists, you may have a regional center within driving range to visit specialists, or you may have no access to specialists.

You may have access to medications in your town, or you may not beyond the very basics.

The quality and experience of your health care providers you have access to can vary greatly- high turn over of remote staff has an impact on the quality of care in some communities.

This is one factor that contributes to the poor health outcomes of remote First Nations people. You will have students and colleagues who may be impacted by poor health that would not happen or be accepted in main centers. You may experience frustration as your remote friends, students and colleagues have to wait to receive specialist diagnosis or care.

You might be impacted personally by the restricted health care.

Schedule health checks with your health professionals

  • Schedule your medical checks for your school holidays when you go back home: dentist check ups, annual medical check, skin checks, mammograms, pap smears, vaccinations, eye check, hearing check, counsellor/psychologist
  • Ask your health care professionals if they offer video conference check ups or check ins
  • Ask your health care professionals for referrals to other teams in the closest regional center to you for care while you are away
  • Ask your medical team to share scripts or medical documents with the remote community medical clinic so it is readily available
  • Don’t put off health care- ask for leave if needed to attend health care appointments and check ups.

Caring for your health in the outback

  • Ask about the health care in your community (ideally before you take the role)- is there a nurse or doctor in the community, is it staffed full time, what facilities are available, do they stock medication you need.
  • Find out if they have an AED or if there is one in another location in town.
  • Know who has medical ‘know how’ in your community- you might have lifesavers with more advanced first aid that work at the pool, an ex- paramedic doing another role etc.
  • Learn where the Royal Flying Doctor landing strip is and if there are needs for landing (check for obstacles, lighting etc)
  • Always stock the basics and location specific medications and supplies: bug repellent, nit treatment, ringworm cream, spew stop, hydration medications, panadol, children panadol (even if you don’t have children), tick removal spray/tweezers, asthma pump, eye drops etc.
  • Always stock personal protection basics: sunscreen, bug spray, sting-gos, antiseptic,
  • Always carry a First Aid Kit and extra water in your car AND have in your house.

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One Response

  1. I’d also add the importance of electrolytes in the heat!

    Could you please correct the spelling of ‘centre’ throughout this article? You’ve used the American spelling of ‘center’, I’m sure I’m not the only teacher cringing every time I see it.

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