Intrepid Kinghorn nursing student Kylie Hourston is off to work with rural Aboriginal communities near the isolated Australian mining town of Broken Hill this summer.
Kylie, who will graduate from Abertay University in July, spent part of last summer volunteering in Kenya with the charity First Aid Africa.
Already in possession of a Forensic Sciences degree from Abertay, Kylie said: “I have always had an interest in anatomy and human physiology, however with my previous degree there was a lack of social interaction.
“With nursing, you are rewarded every day, being able to see the difference you make to individuals’ lives. Also, nurses are needed worldwide, so I have always planned to utilise my nursing skills to travel around the world.”
Kylie, who is a volunteer first aider with St Andrews First Aid, said: “Before starting my nursing degree I spent two years in Australia and New Zealand, travelling and working.
“As part of the nursing course in year three, you are able to organise an elective placement. Some students choose to go back to a ward they have enjoyed, some go to areas in which they hope to work in the future, and sometimes students organise to go overseas. It was a no-brainer for me – I couldn’t wait to return to Australia.
“It was very difficult to organise and I emailed every university in Australia in order to find someone who would support me. After much persistence, it has all worked out and I’m due to fly across for a five week placement. I am staying for three weeks afterwards to do some travelling and visit friends.
“I will be working in small remote hospital in a town called Broken Hill in rural New South Wales. I hope to gain an understanding of global and local health issues, and how health professionals tackle these – in particular indigenous Aboriginal health.
“I will be spending time in their Accident and Emergency during my placement, which has eight beds. Any patient that is critically ill will be stabilised here, and then flown to Adelaide (the nearest city) by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
“I am hoping to also spend time with them, flying to remote towns to set up clinics, or as part of an emergency retrieval team.”
Returning to university
Kylie said returning to university was difficult but with nursing “it all clicked into place”.
She said: “I have never been so passionate about my job! Having the ability to effect decision-making in the workplace - as well as having my voice heard - has been empowering and reassuring.
“Being able to prove I have the knowledge, bridging the theory-to-practice gap and seeing improvements, reinforces my enthusiasm in nursing every day.”