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RPA Hospital Emergency Department staff welcomed in Broken Hill 

A new exchange program offers mutual learning and opportunities to upskill.   

A nurse writes on a whiteboard attached to a wall and a doctor watches on.
SydneyConnect Image: Healthcare professionals at Broken Hill Hospital.

Sydney Local Health District is proud of its partnership with Far West Local Health District to support our colleagues and patients in regional New South Wales.   

As part of this collaboration, healthcare professionals from RPA Hospital’s Emergency Department have taken a secondment to Broken Hill Hospital to support the Emergency Department.  

Since the secondment started, RPA has sent ten nurses on secondment, enriching their professional experiences and making a positive impact on the Broken Hill Hospital staff and community.  

Scott Aouad, a Registered Nurse from RPA, recently undertook the secondment and shared his insights.   

"As much as we've come to help with their staffing, it's been a really big learning experience for me as well.  

A key benefit of the four-week secondment is the opportunity for RPA emergency nurses to use their clinical assessment skills in different settings.   

Access to specialists is readily available in tertiary facilities like RPA, but the situation is quite different in regional areas like Broken Hill.   

The secondment exposes nurses to a diverse range of cases and challenges that encourage personal and professional growth.  

Scott further emphasised the value of telehealth in this unique setting."  

“It's been really useful using all the different telehealth video conferences to get people to look at patients, like through the Stroke Pathway and the ST-elevation myocardial infarction pathway, which we wouldn't have to do at RPA because all the specialists are there on site,” he said.  

Dr Cameron Spenceley, Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at Broken Hill Hospital, said the sharing of expertise from RPA staff had supported professional development among their Broken Hill peers and provided high-quality patient care. 

“They’ve been sometimes surprised about how critically unwell some of our patients are,” he said. 

 “I think they’ve felt very happy to lend a hand and to really help in getting those patients well cared for and properly treated in a way necessary for them to have the best outcome.” 

Jessica Darby, RPA Emergency Department Nurse Manager, said staff were returning from the secondment with new skills and on the job training they otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.  

“A lot of them have only ever worked in a tertiary facility so it's very eye- opening how well they do with such limited resources,” she said.  

Beyond the professional development opportunities, the secondment offers RPA staff a chance to embrace a different way of life for four weeks.   

"It's been a real treat to slow down for a minute,” Scott added.

“Everyone's been really welcoming; the patients as well all seem really thankful for anyone who comes to the town to help out."  

The benefits of this initiative extend beyond the nurses themselves.   

Broken Hill Hospital gains a valuable influx of skilled healthcare professionals who provide support and training to their staff.   

Since the beginning of the program, RPA has also sent medical staff from other specialty areas to support the team in Broken Hill.   

“Having them on the ground here means that our staff are working side by side in our environment with senior, experienced staff so that they can draw and learn from those staff,” Brad Astill, Far West Local Health District Chief Executive said.   

The partnership between Sydney Local Health District and Far West Local Health District is a great example of the power of collaboration and our patient and family centred approach to healthcare.