Estera Doroga and Renae White are ready-made future citizens of Port Pirie.
They just have a few hoops to negotiate before they graduate from nursing school and fall into the welcoming arms of our community.
Estera and Renae were among nine nursing and allied health students at a mayoral reception at Port Pirie Regional Council last Wednesday.
The aim is give the University of South Australia students a taste of country life on their placements to hospital and medical services then entice them to begin their careers in Port Pirie.
Third-year student Estera was matter-of-fact and realistic about her prospects after graduating.
Would she work in Port Pirie? “Yes, anywhere I get a job! I am not too fazed,” she said.
In fact, it would be a homecoming for Estera because she attended Mid North Christian College in Port Pirie.
Renae has lived in Adelaide for the past eight years after growing up in Manangatang, Victoria.
“I would like to go back to the country. I also would like to work for the flying doctor service,” she said.
“Being from the country, we use that facility quite a lot. Without it, there would be a large proportion of the population who would be unable to receive health care.
“I would get to see a lot of the country and work with the indigenous population. It would be amazing to get to know them and work alongside them.”
Port Pirie hospital’s nursing and allied health academic Rosanne Crouch told the gathering of students, health staff and councillors that earlier in the day it had been arranged that students visiting Port Pirie would be accommodated in an additional house that was now needed to cope with the demand from the placements.
“We welcome the students. Arguably, you are in one of the busiest rural placement centres,” she said. “Make the most of this placement because what you learn here will remain with you for the rest of your career.”
Associate Professor Martin Jones, who heads the university’s rural health department, said Port Pirie was a “friendly, open, honest, connected and authentic community”.
He said Mrs Crouch, who has an outstanding record in nursing and education, was “connected and integrated” and “captures the story” of working as a health-care professional in the country.
Mayor John Rohde “welcomed home” Estera Doroga and greeted all the students.
Occupational therapy students Jasmine Weiss and Melinda Alley raised more than $500 from sales of hot-cross buns sponsored by Bakers Delight in their placements.
The cash will help pay for upgrades of hospital lounges.