There has been an increase in refugee settlement in regional areas of Australia over the past couple of years. Regional settlement is considered to bring many benefits to regional communities, such as bringing needed skills. There are also benefits for refugees coming to these areas as they may originally be from rural communities, and may also find it easier to meet people and become part of the wider community in smaller towns and cities. However, as well as benefits, there are challenges to regional settlement, such as more limited transport options and support services, including health services.
A survey was sent out to RNA members, inviting those working in regional areas to provide feedback on the benefit and challenges of providing health care to refugees settled in regional areas, and also on ways that RNA can develop to better support our regional membership.
The results clearly indicate that there is much to celebrate and enjoy about working with people of refugee background in regional Australia. They also show that RNA can play a greater role in supporting its members in regional areas and connecting them to the wider refugee health nursing community. Regional refugee health nursing will be a topic for further discussion at the next RNA National Forum in March 2019.