The Future of Primary Health Care in Wentworth
20th September 2021
Local health care providers have partnered together to strengthen primary health services in Wentworth and surrounding areas. Dubbed “Collaborative Care”, this program involves a range of local services that are all dedicated to better health care in the region.
One important strategy is to attract new health care workers to the area. Primary health care includes general practice, nursing, allied health, and Aboriginal health workers.
Danielle White is a local nursing academic who shows student nurses the benefits of working in a rural location.
“I have lived in Sunraysia since I was a little girl and wanted to be a nurse since I was in Grade 5,” Danielle said.
“I moved to Adelaide to study my Bachelor of Nursing and then stayed for a couple of years to work. But for me, it was about coming back home.”
Danielle works in Dareton for the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health. She is part of a team that lets nursing students experience a rural placement. The hope is that some may choose to work in a rural area.
“I love the perspective, energy and enjoyment that students bring,” Danielle said.
“We meet the students in a small community of less than 500 people. Then we drive over the wide expanse of the Murray River to a regional city of 35,000 and they see Kmart or Bunnings and get excited!”
Students see patients with a range of health conditions and learn to connect with many different people in the community.
“Working in a rural community you know the residents and you see them up the street, at the supermarket, or out for tea,” Danielle said.
“You have a responsibility to the community that you know, but you are also well respected because of the work that you do.”
Students are not currently entering the region due to COVID-19, but the team continues to support local students in the interim.
Nurses play a vital role in primary health care in a variety of specialties. Some examples are palliative care, sexual health, diabetic education, women’s health and midwifery.
Danielle is a strong advocate for the benefits of collaboration in rural communities. She facilitates a local interagency group that is currently focused on mental health concerns within the region.
“I know that if services can work together, the more effective use of resources creates a real change for the person at the end of that service,” said Danielle.
The Collaborative Care Program is a partnership between Far West Local Health District, Western NSW Primary Health Network, NSW Rural Doctors Network, Wentworth Shire Council, and other local health service providers.