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In February, Esperance healthcare professionals had the chance to learn how to properly suture and plaster injured rural patients as part of a Goldfields Health Professionals Network clinical upskilling workshop.

The workshop covered common scenarios found in rural areas with a focus on treating broken limbs and appendages (hands), as well as open wounds.

The workshop was a result of demand for the training in the region and is aimed at reducing the number of patients flying to Perth for treatment according to Rural Health West General Manager of Education and Engagement Leesa Thomas.

“Proper casting technique is extremely important to ensure that the fractured bone heals quickly and thoroughly without complication,” Leesa said.

“The aim of this workshop is to reduce the number of patients referred to Perth for plastering and management, by having more local clinicians skilled in best practice techniques.”

Run by the Goldfields Health Professionals Network (GOHPN) in partnership with Handoc, the workshops are the most common form of training requested in rural locations.

“Most clinicians will receive some training in plastering techniques during their original qualification, but may not receive regular upskilling,” Leesa said.

“This workshop provides an opportunity to refresh skills, as well as learn more about contemporary plastering techniques and management.”

The workshop, which was delivered by Dr Alexandra O’Neil from Handoc, was open to medical practitioners, registered nurses and allied health professionals. It was so popular it may now be rolled out throughout regional WA, according to GOHPN Regional Program Officer Hayley Selleck.

“It was well-received in the region and we have had interest to take it to all over WA,” Hayley said.

“The GOHPN understands the importance of providing healthcare education programs in regional areas, where access to training may be limited.”

Esperance Hospital Registered Nurse Nola Towers who took park in the workshop said it was important for health professionals in regional WA to have access to this type of training.

“It was excellent and great to be a part of,” Nola said.

“The presenter was so knowledgeable and kept things succinct, simple and clear – it was great that we were able to attend this type of workshop.”

Handoc specialises in hand injury management, providing hand injury triage advice to other clinicians and specialist hand surgery services.

The Goldfields Health Professionals Network aims to bring health professionals in the Goldfields together to improve patient care, enhance education and training opportunities, and support the attraction and integration of new staff.

The Goldfields Health Professionals Network was developed by a collective of like-minded health agencies, including Rural Health West, WA Country Health Service, The Rural Clinical School of Western Australia and WA Primary Health Alliance.

The Goldfields Health Professionals Network is also supported by 360 Health and Community and the Goldfields Esperance GP Network.

Visit to join as a member (membership is free).

Acknowledgement of Country