In the lead up to NAIDOC Week 2020, RFDS Kalgoorlie flight nurse Colleen Reid reflects on the special connection and bond she shares with people she cares for in some of the most isolated communities across WA.
The regional town of Kalgoorlie-Boulder is a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone.
Working in Kalgoorlie for the past five years has enabled me to develop strong and meaningful connections with our local communities.
The people I look after, especially our Indigenous patients, seem to always remember the Flying Doctor nurse.
We cover the entire south-eastern region of WA.
Even across the vast and remote landscapes, we are community.
I remember almost having to stay overnight in the very remote border community of Warakurna one night after attending to a patient on the ground. The women in town came to collect us and told me stories of the hills and the spirits in them.
They helped us load our gear, ready to take us into the clinic for the night.
I have flown many elders from communities, famous painters and their kin who always remember who you are and what you did.
Over time, the relationships with the community deepens. We frequently develop ongoing professional relationships with many remote nurses and police officers.
It’s always good to see a friendly face when opening the aircraft doors. Sometimes it’s even them that we retrieve, and that bond helps them know that we are there for them.
Being part of the Kalgoorlie community and beyond is special.
The connection the Flying Doctor has with people on the land lasts forever.
For many of our patients, being flown out is a life-changing event. They look to us for comfort and reassurance which creates a bond.
This strengthens when they know we are from their town or area too.
We are 'one of theirs' and we 'get it'.
-RFDS Kalgoorlie base flight nurse Colleen Reid