Arrival in Capital Canberra and Calvary Hospital

Trip Start Nov 11, 2006
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Trip End Nov 11, 2007


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Saturday, November 18, 2006

I arrived in Canberra on Saturday 18th November after a 2 1/2 hour Greyhound from Sydney.  Bec kindly dropped me off at the bus station in Sydney at the crack of dawn and Ngaira (pronounced Ni-ra) the OT Director collected me from the bus in Canberra.  Ngaira drove me to Calvary Hospital where I would be working and living.  The hospital is in North Canberra near the National Institute of Sport and Australian National University. 
I scored a double room in the Nurses Accommodation which was a nice surprise.  It's such a bargain compared to Edinburgh and Glasgow flat prices.  It's only $8 a night which is about 3quid a night.  It is like being back in Halls of Residence though so it's not as luxurious as Marchmont Road or Kersland Street.  I didn't realise how close I was to work until I arrived.  It's about a 2 minute commute so there are definitely no excuses if I'm late for work!
I spent my first weekend in Canberra doing boring things like shopping/laundry/emails etc.  My nearest supermarket is probably Jamieson which is only a 20minute walk or so.  There are tennis courts and an outdoor swimming pool there too.  Apparently the pool has 'Dive in Movies' which sounds like a great idea for a balmy summers evening.  Ngaira drove me to the supermarket at Belconnen Mall to get supplies.  The supermarket was huge with so much choice.  I managed to get some familiar food like Branson Pickle and Cadburys choc as well as some classic Aussie items e.g leamingtons, tim tams, milo. 
There is an excellent bus service from Calvary into the City Centre and nearby Belconnen Mall.  It's only about ten minutes to get into town or the mall and the buses run frequently.  Although, I may be cycling around as one of the nurses on the ward has kindly given me her bike on loan while I'm here.  The Rough Guide says that Canberra has the best Cycle Path Network in the whole of Australia.  I just need to be careful when I'm cycling at "Roo O'clock" i.e. dawn and dusk.
As far as work goes, all the staff and patients have been very welcoming and have helped me adjust.  On my first day I attended a Calvary Induction.  There was the usual boring stuff like fire safety, occupational health, payroll information, IT etc.  We also learned about the philosophy and mission of Calvary Hospital which was interesting.  I'll give you a potted history of Calvary.  Sister Mary Potter who was from Nottingham founded the Little Company of Mary back in 1877.  Their aim was to set up hospitals to meet the needs of the sick given the social and economic conditions in England at that time.  The values are Healing, Hospitality, Respect and Stewardship (which I think should be applied in all hospitals!).  Although it is founded on Catholic principles, people of all religions and backgrounds are treated equally with no discimination.  There are now Calvary Hospitals all over the world but I'm working in Calvary Hospital, ACT until March 2007.
I'm working in the Orthopaedic/Surgical/Medical wards at Calvary.  There are two Senior I OT's, two Senior II's (I am one of them), a casual OT and an OT assistant.  There are obvious similarities as OT is OT wherever you go, but there are some cultural differences.  Ngaira worked in London for a few years so she's helping translate unfamiliar terms/words and adjust to healthcare in Australia.
Canberra is famous for many things...some people say roundabouts and public servants.  It is the capital though and there are loads of Museums, Art Galleries, Parks...Not to mention the sports teams that play here, the Brumbies and Raiders.  I have four months so hopefully I'll get around to exploring as much of Canberra and the surrounds as I can.  To be continued...
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