When Sydney nurse, Elise Jenkins, put her hand up to assist with the state’s COVID-19 response, she was not expecting to land, quite literally, in the back of Bourke.
But the registered nurse from Westmead Private Hospital said she has absolutely no regrets about volunteering to support her public health care colleagues in the tiny outback town 800 kilometres north-west of Sydney.
“I wanted to help out where it was needed but I didn’t expect to be redeployed here,” Elise said.
“I was originally going to Wilcannia but two days before I was due to leave they said: ‘Can you go to Bourke instead?’, and I said ‘sure!’
“The work here has been so varied. I’ve been in the COVID ward, acute care, the Emergency Department and assisting with aged care.”
“That’s rural nursing – you do everything – and you definitely get a chance to put all your skills to the test.”
She says working COVID ward has been an eye opener, seeing firsthand the effect the disease has on people.
“It’s challenging and very rewarding.”
“The community is just grateful for all the nurses and health care workers here doing their best to manage this situation and the local staff are awesome people, so welcoming and hard-working.”
“I’d encourage anyone who can to volunteer to support our colleagues in regional NSW. Being on the ground here and able to help out has been a wonderful experience,” she said.