For many Allied Health Professionals commencing work in a remote or rural setting means settling into a new community as well as a new job. In order to make the best of remote and rural practice it is vital that you take the time to become orientated to the community. Spend some time investigating or asking people about:
|• Sport and recreation
• Library and facilities
• Clubs and groups
• Weekend activities
|• Local night-spots
• Schools & child care
• Post Office
|• Travel and transport options
• Local events
• Local sights
• Local health services
Below are some suggestions for helping you settle into your new community:
- Visit the local library and tourist centre. These centres distribute maps, newspapers, community calendars, brochures and much more.
- Invite a close relative or friend to stay with you right after the move. The two of you can explore unfamiliar territory together, and you'll have an extra pair of hands to help unpack.
- Remember the rule about six degrees of separation. Speak to friends and relatives about their ties to your new town. Someone always will know someone who lives or who has lived in your new community. Give them a call or take them to coffee / the pub and ask them to tell you about the town.
- Buy a map and start exploring. Seeing your new town is fun and right away gives you something in common with other people. And you'll start developing your favourite haunts—a true sign of home
- Join a local sports team (even if you have never played that sport before – have a go!). Many health professionals have suddenly become tennis players or soccer players on arrival to a new town.
- Say YES to everything. As the new person in town and at work you will be invited to attend a host of activities, parties and gatherings. Even though it is uncomfortable to begin with (unless you are the extrovert social butterfly) go along and make the effort – it will be worth it in the long run.
- Look for things in the new community that you enjoyed in your old one. If you enjoy golf, find out about your local golf facilities. If you were part of a support group, see if there is a similar group in town.
- Go to all the local community events (even the ones you would never have considered going to before moving). Local events are an important part of country life.
- Buy the local newspaper. This is an easy and enjoyable way to get acquainted with a new community and to get a taste of what life is like there.
- Become a volunteer. Community service and volunteerism may be one of the best ways to create meaningful new ties. Find opportunities through local community centres or library, your job, churches, or schools, or online.
- Latch on to other newbies. Seek out other families/people who have moved recently. Chances are they will be in the same stage of getting settled, so their calendars will have as much white space as yours.
- Talk to people. Ask questions, be sociable and get to know people. Make an effort.
Community Orientation & You
- Have you made an effort to engage in the community?
- How can you become more involved?