Using technology to provide support to new nurses and midwives in the bush; A novel innovative education and support program has been developed to augment current resources and overcome the barriers of distance experienced by nurses in the bush.

Dr  Pauline  Calleja1,2, Ms Cherie O’Brien1, Mr  Clayton Judd1, Ms Lee  Trenning1

1Retrieval Services Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 2Griffith University, Menzies Health Institute, Nathan, Australia


Using technology to provide support to new nurses and midwives in the bush

Aim: Providing clinical education and support in isolated areas can be difficult due to resources and distances. This presentation showcases an innovative support program for novice and new graduate nurses and midwives.

Background: In an effort to improve recruitment and retention of staff in the bush, a support program using a blended approach has been developed and trialled by Retrieval Services Queensland, funded through the Office of The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer (QLD). The program implemented in four Queensland rural and remote health services, aims to assist new staff to practice and learn safely in a supported environment. Additionally, individual and group level education and development is provided for clinical staff and educators supporting these nurses and midwives. The program was developed as an overarching support service, augmenting current resources to improve outcomes and experiences. Strategies and models were chosen to help overcome geographical barriers and reduce professional isolation often experienced by staff in the bush, using face-to-face, digital and telehealth technologies. The blended, scaffolded and structured approach was chosen to enable delivery of deliberate, organised and timely learning.

Issues addressed: a lack of after-hours support; capacity of local clinical staff to provide needed support to novices and staff with teaching expertise located at hub sites far removed from areas of need. This is exacerbated by the wider scope of practice required in isolated settings. While novices report enjoying varied learning opportunities, they are not frequent enough to ensure mastery. Many new staff in these environments voice concerns about achieving their educational and clinical goals while meeting the patient’s needs and expectations.

Conclusion: Using a variety of technologies to deliver purposeful education and support may improve recruitment and retention of the future rural and remote workforce.


Pauline is a Lecturer at Griffith University and consults as a Nurse Educator with Retrieval Services Queensland (RSQ). Pauline is the Post Graduate Director for nursing programs, Program Director for Emergency Nursing and is leading the Rural and Remote Graduate and Novice Education Support Program at RSQ.

Cherie is a Nurse Educator with clinical and teaching experience in Emergency Departments and Primary Health Care clinics within Australia and UK. Cherie is working on the Rural and Remote Graduate and Novice Education Support Program at RSQ and has a Masters in Critical Care Nursing, with expertise in emergency and trauma nursing.