The unique experiences and stories held by rural and remote nurses and midwives provide invaluable insight into the challenges of primary health care in the environments they live and work. Through a dialectical sharing of personal nursing experience, it is observed that rural and remote nurses are faced with minimal access to resources, and increased workplace responsibility. This is a topic of global concern, and can be applied to nursing within the Kingdom of Tonga.
The Kingdom of Tonga, otherwise known as ‘the Friendly Islands’, has been identified by the World Health Organisation as the most obese country in the world with an epidemic on non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular disease and respiratory illness. Completing my clinical placement in Tonga has provided me with the unique opportunity to develop my nursing skills in the international arena of health and illness. My experiences within Tonga have incited an appreciation for the nature of nursing within this developing nation. Themes of nurse resourcefulness in an environment with limited resources shaped my Tongan nursing experience. Here, it is observed that the challenges faced by all Tongan nurses remain inherently similar to the challenges faced by rural and remote nurses practicing within Australian Borders.
Discussions regarding the experience of an Australian student nurse engaged in clinical practice within a developing nation will be centred on the Kingdom of Tonga. Upon sharing my experiences and stories, I will engage case studies to demonstrate how services operate within the main Vaiola hospital, discuss the challenges and barriers to nursing in a developing nation, and make recommendations based on my experiences.
Schwarz Family Practice Clinical Assistant
3rd Year Bachelor of Nursing Advanced Studies Student – University of Sydney