June Swearse

Clinical Services Coordinator, Peterborough Hospital SA

Peterborough Hospital is a small rural hospital approximately 250km north of Adelaide, semi-arid just off the Barrier Highway, South Australia. We have 23 beds made up of resident aged care, Accident and Emergency (AE), theatre, post-natal care and visiting allied health.

We have around 1600 people in our community but upwards of 2000 in surrounding areas. Our socio-economic disadvantage lies in our population breakdown which has a high number of elderly patients with many varied diagnosis. Our hospital also looks after mental health patients and AE cases from motor vehicle accidents, farming and slaughtering industries.

The challenges we face in getting support are that it is often difficult to attract casual staff that need financial security. Long distances to travel for agency staff are also a deterrent. We are budgeted only for one registered nurse and one enrolled nurse per shift so minimal permanent staff are available to cover staff on holidays or study leave.

We heard about NAHRLS from other units who had used the program and it was easy to register for help. We hadn’t done this before but the NAHRLS Recruitment Advisers were very helpful and we didn’t have to pay any commissions or fees.

NAHRLS has helped us cover much needed support for annual leave. It gives our staff the chance to take holidays or study leave and ensure that our other permanent staff are not having to work extra shifts to cover their absence.

We have used three different locums and all were excellent professionals and very good and supportive to our staff. I hope they enjoyed their experience with us here at Peterborough Hospital. We would certainly use the program again and we highly recommend NAHRLS to others.