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Remote Area Nursing: A Community Lifeline

May 11, 2023 | in Community News

Remote Area Nurse’s are trained by paramedics to work alongside them providing emergency health care to remote areas of Victoria.   

Kim McDonald, Centre Manager for Bush Nursing Centres, shares her experience working a career path she never expected!

Growing up in St. Arnaud, Central Victoria, I always wanted to be a nurse.   

I remember talking with my mother about career paths in primary school. She told me about the different types of nursing, and I thought I would like to be a Theater nurse. In my graduate year, I had the opportunity to do a week’s experience in Theatre, then in Emergency. It was there I thought Theatre was not for me and Emergency nursing was more my calling.  

I worked as a registered nurse for five years before starting in the Bush Nursing Centre.   

There are 15 Bush Nursing Centres (BNC) located in remote areas of Victoria. Nurses at the Centre can choose to register for the Remote Area Nurse (RAN) program and go on to train with paramedics to co-respond to ambulance calls in our catchment area.


Bush Nursing Centres team members (L-R): Sheryn, Kerryn, Kim and Priscilla

When a Triple Zero (000) call comes in, RANs are dispatched at the same time as paramedics. Often, we might arrive before AV and can initiate management and treatment until AV arrives to transport the patient.  

I really enjoy the variety of nursing and opportunities the BNC brings each day. We start our day doing pathology collection and wound care, then district nursing. We might cover palliative care, health promotion and education, immunisation, and often have emergency presentations that can vary from minor lacerations to chest pain that requires an ambulance.  

Working in a community environment is completely different to a hospital setting. The community become like a family, and it is very rewarding. I enjoy helping people and making their day better, if possible.  

The most common call-outs we have are emergency medical responses, chest pain being the most common. We also have plenty of farming accidents and can come across some really unusual injuries.

Kim with team member, Leanne

These days I have two teenagers to keep me on my toes. I enjoy keeping active with sports and have started Saturday morning park runs. I’m now the Centre Manager at BNC and have been for four years. I think this work is so rewarding.   

For anyone considering a career in bush nursing, I’d say it’s something every nurse should experience. It’s a unique type of nursing, and you gain more clinical skills and knowledge. Every day is different, and you may be faced with challenges. These experiences make you grow professionally and personally and are overall very fulfilling.   

The community here is very welcoming and appreciative, which is very gratifying. I enjoy helping people and making their day better, if possible.