Miss Amy Wenham1
1National Rural Health Student Network, Mascot, Australia
The poor mental health of our health professionals is a topic that is of global concern. Increased responsibility and often less resources, puts our nursing and allied health professionals in rural and remote communities, at an increased risk for poor mental health outcomes.
Rural and remote clinical practice can be an incredibly rewarding experience, allowing practitioners a broader scope of practice, a close connection with their community, and many other positive experiences. However, with rural and remote area practice comes a variety of negative factors such as the stigma around accessing mental health, burnout, isolation, minimal access to clinical support, increased responsibility and decreased new graduate support that all impact the overall mental health of our nursing and allied health professionals. Support services around mental health issues for new graduates as well as long term practicing individuals are limited in these areas, and for some not accessible. These themes have shown to also have a strong correlation in the decreasing retention rates in rural and remote Australia.
National Rural Health Student Network’s (NRHSN) position paper ‘Mental health within Nursing and Allied Health workforce in Rural and Remote Areas’, aims to outline the importance of mental health and wellbeing for Nursing and Allied Health professionals and put forth recommendations on how we can better support our rural and remote area workforce. Our recommendations are aimed around three key areas; mental health within rural and remote areas, stigma around mental health and retention rate of rural and remote practitioners.
Amy Wenham is a final year Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies) student at the University of Sydney. Currently serving as the National Rural Health Student Network Secretary and MIRAGE Rural Health Club President, Amy has a strong passion for rural and remote health. Having grown up in rural areas across the globe, this passion is something that she strives to employ with her nursing degree in the future.