We chat with Kamin Tuxworth, a mad keen Barra Wrangler about her rural nursing journey. If you’ve ever thought of Rural and Remote nursing then this is a great read! Before you read on go join our exclusive PRIVATE FB Group ‘Rural & Remote Nursing | The Australian Outback‘ to ask questions and network with other like-minded nurses, midwives and students.

My name is Kamin. I am 34 years old and currently on maternity leave for 12 months. I grew up in Ingham and always loved the freedom of growing up in a small town. I pursued nursing after taking a gap year. I didn’t quite finish my studies though, and I took a few (6) years off to pursue other passions. After a few years of working in bars and photographing, I decided I wanted something a but more stable. I went back to nursing and I’m so glad I did. 

Rural Nursing – How it began

I always knew I wanted to experience working rurally and in my final year I applied for Mt Isa. I was lucky and received a graduate position in ED and in a small town called Karumba. From Karumba I took a risk, left my partner behind for a short 3 month contract up on Thursday Island and loved it! After, I then went back and worked in Normanton as my partner was working in Karumba breeding Barras.

We lived apart for 4 years in neighbouring towns but it was doable because it was less than an hour commute. My favourite place is probably TI. I met a lot of good people and had a great time on a beautiful Island. The hospital is right on the waterfront! But I also enjoyed my time in Normanton, not as beautiful though!

What do you love about rural and remote nursing?

What I love about working rurally and remotely are the people you meet who become family and the experiences! I knew that I would be forced to learn quickly, the saying is “sink or swim”. I’ve been involved in multiple RESUS with only 3 nurses and a Dr via TEMSU with good outcomes and bad outcomes. I doubt whether I would have had these experiences as a young nurse in a metro hospital. 

I’ve worked for weeks without a Dr because we can’t get a Dr to come out rurally. Those weeks are particularly hard because you have to advocate so much harder for your patients whilst talking to a Dr over the phone or via TEMSU. I’ve been mentored by some truly amazing Nurses and Drs who I now call friends. I’ve worked with amazing nurses/drs/all hospital staff from all walks of life and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. 

Tip 1

Know your limits! If you want to work rurally then do it. But please bear in mind that sometimes you are it! There are rural hospitals like Mt Isa that would be a perfect stepping stone to learn new skills before going out further. 

Tip 2

(There might be other manuals for different states) An easy tip before going rurally is to purchase the RFDS PCCM; it’s a life saver. Secondly, do a few emergency courses. 

Tip 3

I recommend REC, MEC, TEC or a TNCC. It’s actually a part of our mandatory training to complete Imminent birthing, Paediatric Resus and ALS every year. 

Tip 4

Choose an agency wisely. Sometimes not all agencies have your best interest. We’ve unfortunately had staff come to us who have never taken blood, cannulated or triaged and it’s very difficult to be the nurse in charge or working with an EN or junior staff without those basic skills. 

Tip 5

Have fun! Make friends with the permanent staff who might take you out fishing, camping or have new experiences.