Almost paradise!

Ms Rebecca Collins1

1The Tweed Hospital, Nelson Bay, Australia

Imagine your personal ideal paradise location… Imagine you’re in your dream job but working on your own to provide medical treatment to a local population of 1200 with a transient population up to 4800. There is a GP available Monday to Friday and the on-call is shared equally but isolation coupled with limited support networks can be a gruelling and a fatiguing environment to work in.

What options do you have to support your practice when working in private enterprise in an isolated location?

I was employed to coordinate the opening of the only Medical Centre in a remote location with difficult, if not impossible access in poor weather. I was responsible for the Primary Health Care needs and emergency presentations of the population. Whilst I had a GP in the practice he was not permanently located on site.

A support relationship was developed using the telehealth model TEMSU (Telehealth Emergency Management Support Unit). Telehealth is now used extensively but for Queensland Health this was a primary initiative to bridge the gap between a private remote location and the public hospitals involved in an attempt to reduce the amount of retrievals required.  The service allowed for contact with specialist services for close to 24 hours a day and review of unwell patients. It aided in the decision making process of transfer mode for retrieval patients either via water (with or without escort) or heliport. The results were not what was expected in regards to a reduction in retrievals for TEMSU.

Additional benefits of the system included support and education for medical personnel and improved health care services for patients. The accidental pilot generated discussion and research into improvement of existing services to meet gaps that may not have previously been met.


I am an Emergency Nurse my full title is Nurse Practitioner Primary Healthcare/Emergency. I have been working as a Registered Nurse since the mid 90’s. More recently in a Nurse Practitioner role since 2007.  My education and employment has been through rural, metropolitan and tertiary hospitals throughout NSW and QLD in paediatrics, midwifery and emergency. I have dabbled in private health care along the way. I am an adventurous person and have dragged my family to remote locations while they have evolved in these environments my career has also developed and I have learnt and experienced things I would never have done in only one area of nursing.