Anna Wheeler, Rural Health Nurse


I work as a rural practice nurse in a medical centre in Geraldine and fit in some part-time teaching of first-year nursing students for Otago Polytechnic at Timaru Hospital.

Being in a rural area means the scope of work I do is so much broader than if I were in a city. I have the opportunity to be involved in teaching, emergency work, patient education, health promotion and as part of a skilled medical team. What other career offers you such diversity? In a day, I could go from treating a diabetic patient to immunising a child to treating a cardiac arrest to assisting at a car accident scene.

I'm in a position to see where there are healthcare gaps in the local community, and to fill them. In the past few years, I've set up programmes in diabetes awareness, weight loss, well women and well men, falls prevention and cholesterol checks. That's what drives me - the community need.

I love the life out here. We have some land with a rural outlook, and we're currently building a house. I've recently had a baby and I'm on maternity leave but my five-year goal is to finish my masters degree and qualify as a rural nurse practitioner. There are not enough doctors in rural areas and the doctors I work with have pushed me to keep advancing my skills so I can take on more responsibility.

I'm passionate about rural nursing. I absolutely love what I do. Working with people in the community is hugely satisfying.
 

  

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