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Health workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) Grant helps Ariane study remote health care

Originally from Canada, Ariane Lefevre is now happily residing in the seaside town of Ocean Grove on the Bellarine Peninsula.

Living in Victoria since 2009, after finishing her nursing degree, Lefevre went on to complete her graduate year at a private hospital in Melbourne. But then a growing family and a yearning for country life inspired a move to Ocean Grove.

“I was lucky enough to find a job as a community nurse in Point Lonsdale,” Lefevre said, which is about seven kilometres by car from Ocean Grove if you’re travelling to work, or a three-hour beach walk if it’s a weekend and you’re keen to explore the spectacular coast.

Lefevre was recently awarded the RWAV (Rural Workforce Agency Victoria) Health Workforce Scholarship Program grant, which enabled her to improve the skills and knowledge she uses in her nursing work.

To date, Lefevre has completed Advanced Life Support Level 1 (ALS1) and Remote Emergency Care courses, and the cost of these were covered by the RWAV scholarship. The courses were good preparation for work in remote areas, she said, explaining that remote nursing is destined to be part of her future.

Lefevre found the scholarship application simple and straightforward, and she thanked the RWAV team for being happy to answer her questions and being so prompt in their communications.

The rewards of providing health care to people in their own homes include the comfort they experience when they don’t have to leave their familiar surroundings. It also promotes their independence, Lefevre said. “I think clients recognise this and are very grateful for our care.”

The past two years have been challenging for Lefevre’s workplace, as they had to be adaptable and resourceful to manage their patients and their services. ‘We’re a small workplace and we generally rely on each other a lot”, she said, “but more so during the COVID pandemic.

For anybody considering working in rural Victoria, Lefevre said they should “Go for it!” The rewards are immense and the challenges and benefits are a different experience, she said.

Being awarded the Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) was “thrilling” and Lefevre said she is excited to be able to study courses that will help her pursue remote nursing and take accessible health care to people who need it.

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