Pormpuraaw is a small remote indigenous community on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula. In 1938 it was established as the Edward River Mission by the Anglican Church. In 1967 the Church handed over administration of the community to the Queensland Government. In 1986 an elected Community Council assumed responsibility for, and gained title over, the land. The following year, in 1987, the community was renamed Pormpuraaw; after a local dreamtime story. The community predominantly consists of members of the Thaayorre and Mungkan people. Remarkably traditional language usage remains strong; even among children whose first language is often a local language, with English being a second or sometimes third language. There is also an active conservation of culture passed on from the Elders to younger generations.
The Pormpuraaw Primary Health Care Centre is staffed by registered nurses and aboriginal health workers. It provides 24 hour primary health care and emergency services. The Royal Flying Doctor Service also provide emergency and primary health care services to the town of Pormpuraaw. RFDS clinics are conducted two days a week and arrange evacuation of people with serious illness or injury during the rest of the time. Nurses and health care staff work closely with the RFDS in the assessment, management and treatment of clients presenting to the clinic, as well as people with chronic illnesses. Clinic staff have 24 hour access to RFDS on call doctors via telephone.
Nursing in this context is both rewarding and challenging. It enables nurses, and health care staff, to develop a certain amount of autonomy and independence not experienced in mainstream health facilities. It also requires nurses and health care staff to be able to act quickly and decisively in emergent situations to liaise with the RFDS on call team to provide pre-hospital care for the sick or seriously ill patient. Given that definitive care may be at least 1 1/2 hour away this can be a very challenging situation. However, it is precisely this challenge that makes working in this type of position exciting and rewarding.
Google Map Links to Pormpuraaw
- Pormpuraaw (Edward River) satelite view locating Pormpuraaw on Cape York Peninsula
- Pormpuraaw (Edward River) satelite view showing town
- Pormpuraaw (Edward River) map view partial zoom
- Pormpuraaw (Edward River) map view full zoom. The clinic is located in the block formed by Korka, Yalu and Ngurrin Sts