I’ve often said to other remote area nurses that we haven’t done ourselves any favours by doing the work that we do as we often feel we don’t fit in anywhere anymore. I read something recently that reinforced that opinion. In a book called “Other People’s Country” by Maureen Helen, her account of her work in remote Western Australia in the nineties, she speaks with a nurse who’s leaving after many years working in the same community: “It was to have been my big adventure,” she said wryly. ‘I’d planned it for a couple of years and thought I was lucky to get this job. But I hate the heat. And I miss my family, ‘she confides. ‘Sometimes I can’t remember why I came. everything’s so different. It’s like a foreign country, isn’t it? I feel as if I can’t talk to people who’ve never been here because they don’t understand. And people who live up here permanently are so comfortable they’re almost smug.”

4 thoughts on “Belonging

  1. You know I often say I live in two universes, bipolar if you were. And after a while you become so affected by it that you can never be the same person again. And it seems that normal people don’t ever get that or the inevitable stress it leaves on you over time.


  2. i know this person in the photograph with you and i believe that you also may have taken over the nursing position that i left on that island where the picture was taken


  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences around culture shock, how it effected you, and how you addressed it Sharon. I have recently (3 months ago) commenced work in a remote community in Arnhem Land and found reading your blog very helpful and supportive as I negotiate my own journey through the several phases of culture shock.


    • Hi Tony I’m so glad you’ve found my thoughts helpful. It’s an odd thing writing a blog about one’s personal experiences, it feels like I’m sending words into a void. I worked 2 months last year in East Arnhem Land and loved it, hope things are going well for you.


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