Home' OsteoLife : OsteoLife Summer 2013 Contents 6 Australian Osteopathic Association
FROM THE AOA
If you have been born and raised in an
urban area it is easy to assume that a single
definition of the words 'rural' and 'remote'
will explain anything outside of a major city.
Needless to say, this is not the case.
Rural and remote communities can
be described with reference to a set of
characteristics that may be apparent to
varying degrees in individual locations:
• geographic isolation -- relative distance to
• smaller/decreasing population base;
• greater indigenous population;
• attitudes and beliefs -- a distinctive shared
outlook due to rural experience and
• occupational and industrial profile -- often
primary production and resources.
These characteristics combine to
determine the health profile of the
population and how healthcare is provided
to the community, as well as influencing the
practice of individual health professionals
such as osteopaths.
There are many advantages for practicing
in a rural or remote area:
• the chance to establish a busy practice;
• exposure to a wide range of clinical
conditions and professional variety;
• extension of professional skills;
• high professional standing/value in the
• the opportunity to work closely with
other health practitioners.
Of course, these aspects may be
experienced by practitioners in urban
areas, but the smaller and closer
communities of country towns or other
remote locations may make the benefits
more easily realised.
There are, however, some issues to
consider when establishing a practice that
are of particular concern to isolated and
First and foremost, factor into your
practice budget the cost and time of CPD
and associated travel for several occasions
throughout the year. Not only is CPD now
a requirement of ongoing registration, it is
an essential part of maintaining professional
links and currency of professional
knowledge. Osteopaths should view this as
part of running a practice.
Mixing with other members of the
profession is an important part of our
industry. Contact with others at seminars
and conferences to discuss cases,
management strategies and concerns or
worries is essential. This should be factored
in when planning your CPD.
Don't underestimate the value of the
informal chat over a cup of tea at a seminar
or the benefits gained from a discussion
over dinner with old university friends.
REMEMBER, YOU ARE HUMAN
When you spend your days with patients
who constantly tell you how wonderful
and clever you are, it is easy to develop a
A person with a god complex may
forget that there is always a possibility
of error or failure, even when faced
with complex or intractable problems or
difficult or impossible tasks. In addition,
they may regard their personal opinions as
unquestionably correct. The individual may
disregard the rules of society and expect
special consideration or privileges.
As an osteopathic practitioner, this
may present as the belief that you are the
only person who can provide adequate or
appropriate care to patients. Remember,
before you arrived, the patient managed to
survive on their own. While your treatment
is beneficial, it is not absolutely essential.
Learn to distinguish between 'need' and
'want'. It is amazing how many patients
'need' to see you immediately, but if an
Rural and remote practitioners have a large pool of support resources available
to them. Here are a few tips to help you achieve a healthy work/life balance.
BY Amanda Heyes, President of the Sutherland Cranial Osteopathic Society,
and a member of the Board of Osteopaths of Australia.
LOOKING FOR A LOCUM?
The Australian Government has
established the Nursing and Allied
Health Rural Locum Scheme (NAHRLS)
to support allied health professionals
(including osteopaths) in rural and
remote Australia by removing some of
the barriers rural health professionals
face in accessing leave. NAHRLS
supports and recruits suitable locums to
enable rural and remote professionals
to take personal leave or leave to
undertake professional development,
and enable organisations to fill their
positions to support ongoing service
delivery. All you pay is the base wage,
and NAHRLS covers the rest:
• with no agency fees;
• to sole practitioners and larger
• the administration associated
with recruiting and credentialing
appropriate locums, including
arrangement and payment of travel,
accommodation and meals.
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