Women working in rural and remote Australia- a Primary Health Nurse Perspective

Miss Kristy James1

1RFDSSE, Broken Hill , Australia


Share my nursing journey from AIN to RN and beyond as a single parent in a rural mining town. To explore the different pathways in nursing and the barriers single women face to gain professional development and education opportunities when living in rural/remote locations.

Explain my job as a Primary Health Nurse for the RFDSSE based in Broken Hill. I would like to talk about my scope of practice and my professional development in line with the job. CRANAplus courses I have completed and of course the Graduate Certificate in Remote Health Practice. Explain the diversity of my work from the locations, the way I travel to work (plane), the teams I work with to provide holistic care to the South Eastern Section of the RFDS. From Broken Hill we provide 24 hour emergency retrievals, covering a land mass of approximately 640,000 km². And I am part of the network of primary health clinics where patients can access community health nurses, dentists, AHP, mental health and allied health professionals.

The cost of further education and having to work full time and do clinical placement for 8 week blocks. Working in Primary Health usually means the hours are family friendly. Shift work is a deterrent to single women with children choosing Nursing as a career. Unfortunately the clinical placements required to complete a Bachelors degree is unattainable for most women. University require students to travel from their rural/remote location to metropolitan hospitals which impossible if you’re are the primary carer.

Availability of affordable child care and the lack places available for children.

The increasing cost of travel to and from Broken Hill to visit family and friends.

The cost of the rental properties in Broken Hill that are substandard and older then the urban areas.


42year old single mother to one child (15year old boy),lived in Broken Hill for 12 years- from WA(2006). Started studying as a mature aged student through the local TAFE (2007), completed Cert 3in  Assistant in Nursing which lead me to study a Cert 4 in Enrolled Nursing-2009 (first year in was offered in Broken Hill, as a working single mother this changed my life!) I then was accepted into University starting at CSU(2010) and transferred to UniSA (2013)Bachelor of Nursing and have a recently completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Remote Health Practice(2018) through Flinders University.