1st Aug 2013

FPP Nurse Home Visitor Reflections

A Day in the Life of a NHV – Community Visit. By Jane Boulton, FPP NHV

Each Wednesday, two teams of a of a Nurse Home Visitor (NHV) and an Aboriginal Community Worker (ACW) make the trip out to Santa Teresa, an Aboriginal community approximately 85 km south east of Alice Springs. It’s a long and tiring day; however it’s incredibly rewarding and exciting to take such a beneficial program out to community. The Family Partnership Program is well accepted in Santa Teresa, everyone seems to know or is related to someone who is currently on the program or who has graduated from the program. Jasmine (ACW) and I are currently visiting five women in Santa Teresa, all of whom are currently receiving pregnancy home visits. Anissa (NHV) and Tinky (ACW) see the other clients who are also on the program in Santa Teresa.

Prior to traveling to Santa Teresa I try to plan out my day, but not once have my visits it turned out the way I had planned. Here is a little overview on how my day can pan out.

My first visit takes place with a woman who is expecting her third child; she works at the Child Care centre which is located at the Women’s Centre. Our visits usually take place in the activities room while the older children are outside playing and she rocks a baby to sleep in a pram. Jasmine doesn’t sit with us throughout our visits as Jasmine is family to my client’s partner and she would prefer if Jasmine wasn’t involved in her visits. This is generally my only client at Santa Teresa who I know I can always find. As for the other women, they are often busy or in town; that is one of the challenges of visiting Santa Teresa.

After my first visit at the Women’s Centre and a quick chat to the others who work there it’s off to try and find the other women, who are often at a different house each week. We call the women to see if they are in town and if the women answer their phones, or it’s not being used by someone else it can make locating them easier.

After a few phone calls and stops at different houses we  find my next client. She doesn’t like having her visits at the house because of all the family around, so we are off to the clinic to have our visit. Jasmine sits with us during these visits, as does her older son. Once we have completed our visit and dropped her home the same process takes place to find my next client, who is expecting her first baby. Today she is at her partner’s aunt’s house; our visit takes places under the verandah of the house sitting on a picnic rug. Our visit is frequently interrupted by family walking by, dogs annoying us or even the occasionally pony just popping in to see what we are up to, all providing some light entertainment throughout the visit. We also celebrate her 20th birthday today, so some of the family from inside the house came out to sing happy birthday and enjoy some cake. It felt very special to be part of her birthday celebration. From here it’s off to find another client; she is not at her usual house, family tell us she is staying with her boyfriend. We go to his home but no one is home there. Some young boys walking home from school tell us the woman has gone to town for the day. I quickly write out a note to her saying I will be back next week, if she has any worries to please call or to let her know if she is going to town again to pop into our office in Alice Springs. The young boys assure me they will pass on the note.

These are the only women we planned to visit today; if I do happen to see my other client around town or at the store, Women’s Centre or I drive past her house, I stop to say a quick hello and remind her we will be back next week for a visit.

Our final stop for the day is back up to the clinic to check in with the midwife or nurse to see if they are aware of any other pregnant women and touch base with them about my clients. After this it’s time to head back to town, hoping that we don’t get a flat tyre or have an encounter with the cows, horses or other animals hanging out on the side of the road and enjoying some lunch along the way. My weekly visit to Santa Teresa is something I look forward to and thoroughly enjoy. I feel so privileged to be part of these women’s lives in some small way,  and enjoy greatly what each woman teaches me, their generosity in sharing with me insights about their lives, family and culture.

This article was first published in the ANFPP National Newsletter, Twelfth Edition - July 2013.

Republished with permission.

More information

View the ANFPP National Newsletter, Twelfth Edition

Visit the ANFPP website