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Appreciation for health practitioners in Walwa

The Walwa Bush Nursing Centre is operated by nurses ranging from registered nurses with Remote Area Nurse Endorsement, to a nurse practitioner who has significant experience working in the community. Through their expertise, and a reliance on RWAV to provide General Practitioner (GP) locums, the centre is able to provide continuity of care for patients. The outcome is a clinical model built on trust and appreciation by residents who can continue to live and work in a rural community. We spoke with Sandi Grieve, CEO and nurse practitioner at the centre and office manager Melinda Short about their experiences in country practice.

Tell me about the Walwa Bush Nursing Centre, the services it offers and the size of the community.

The centre provides a General Practitioner (GP) service four days a week and services about 1,200 active patients. The centre also sees clients who travel from the surrounds of up to 45 minutes away.

We’ve always had excellent GPs at the clinic. Plus, our practice nurses have between 30-40 years of experience and this has helped us develop a long-standing relationship between staff and the patients. Over the years, our GPs and nurses have come to know the conditions people present with. It’s a reason why we’ve been able to draw from such a large area. Our clients know and trust the staff and the service they provide.

The nurses provide significant support and backup to our GPs. For instance, they accommodate the overflow as well as provide triage for unwell patients presenting on the day. It makes the approach of the Centre very collaborative and I believe it assists the clinic in the return of GP locums.

How long has the Walwa medical centre been working with RWAV to provide locums?

We’ve been working with RWAV for more than seven years for our GP locum placements.

What qualities do you think makes someone successful in working for a small country practice?

At a professional level, working in a rural area provides a great deal of variety. The presentations are diverse, but the patients are the same, so you develop great therapeutic relationships. It is extremely satisfying, being able to support people throughout their entire health journey. You get to make a difference, but you also get to see the difference you make.

Do you have any tips for anyone looking to work in rural healthcare?

Just do it! Life is too short to not have experienced the beauty and lifestyle of rural living at least once. See the stars and have no traffic on the way to work!

I came from Sydney in 2000. Back then, when my husband I did this tree change, we had no children. We came here because of the beautiful scenery. Our hobby is riding motor bikes and we found it was a great place to ride the bikes. We often rode through on our way to the Phillip Island bike races.

Living near Walwa, I am never too far away from anything. I can walk to the Murray River, the pub, the vet and I’m also only an hour and fifteen minutes to the major regional centre, Albury-Wodonga. We bought a 200 acre farm for the same price as a home in Sydney. We have our own space and it’s not isolated. It ticked all the boxes.   

What are the advantages of working in a smaller community as a health care professional?

According to Sandi, some of the many advantages to working as a nurse practitioner in Walwa includes knowing the patients really well. We know their families, their challenges, their jobs. So we can be extremely inclusive and holistic in the care we provide. If they don’t get better, they come back, if they do get better, you will still see them again, sometimes at the local store! So, you get the satisfaction of seeing your work come to fruition. If we send somebody to a larger centre for more definitive care, we are then charged with providing services on their return.

When I worked in the city, I didn’t get to see the outcome of my work. Patients would leave the ED and we never found out if they got better, or had to go somewhere else, or got worse. Working in rural health, the circle of care is much more holistic.

There was a bit of serendipity in how I came to Walwa. I had just finished a contract at The Alfred in Melbourne and I had come to Walwa to camp and fish for a few days. I was talking to a local about how much I would like to work in the bush.  On my return home, the director of nursing called me and offered me a job. The hospital had just coincidentally had a resignation, and it turns out the local I was talking to, was the Board Chair who somehow was able to track down my phone number in Melbourne. I said I’d come for six weeks and give it a try. Closing in on my 30th year, and I’m still here.

For a health professional who are unsure about taking up rural medicine, I’d tell them to ‘give it a go.’ You’ll likely be surprised with the capabilities of rural emergency departments, practices and the skills of practice nurses. A word of advice before you start: have clear boundaries about where your job begins and ends. As a result of being so client-based, you will regularly cross paths with your patients, as well as see them in the main street and the supermarket.

There is so much value in working rurally. You can make a difference for someone in a rural area and they will appreciate what you’ve done for them.

If you are thinking about undertaking a locum placement and/or would like more information on the current vacancies, visit the Vacancies page.

Snezana is a Human Resources leader with more than 15 years of experience in management, playing a pivotal role in driving team transformations across diverse industries, including FMCG, automotive, government, and non-profit sectors.

With a curiosity for business and its associated complexities, Snezana fosters collaborative partnerships to cultivate a highly motivated workforce that effectively executes strategic plans.

Msc (Fin), FCCA, FGIA, CA

Shay brings over 20 years of financial
management experience in commercial and not-for-profit organizations. He has a
rich and varied experience in multiple finance and leadership roles in the
United Kingdom and Australia, including CFO, GM Finance & IT, Commercial
Manager Operations, Finance Manager and Accountant.

His extensive leadership experience is
augmented by an FGIA, FCCA, CA, a Masters in Finance and an undergraduate degree in
accounting and finance.

RN, GradDip(Health Promotion), PRINCE2, Mini MBA

Kate is a Registered Nurse highly experienced in health promotion and project management. Her people and program management skills enable her to be agile and adaptable while maintaining an outcomes focus on improving quality access to primary healthcare.

Kate’s extensive experience working with all levels of government, the community and stakeholders across the sector have provided her with insights into the challenges rural communities and health professionals face. Kate has led the design and delivery of many innovative and strategic health promotion and grants programs, supporting better access to health services, health information and activities across communities. Whilst at RWAV, Kate has led the transformation of the RWAV grants program, enhanced the administration of a number of programs and developed the RWAV allied health portfolio. She has also led the development of the RWAV research program of activities.

Having worked at RWAV since 2020, Kate will continue positively influencing the rural healthcare workforce and access to services.

Social Work (BA Hons), DipSW

With a background in social work and a proven record in recruitment, project management, and business development, Jo brings strategic leadership and a wealth of experience in driving positive outcomes within the health, human services, and State Government sectors.

Jo specialises in managing health professional recruitment and outreach programs, including the More Doctors for Rural Australia and 3GA programs. Her focus is on implementing innovative workforce strategies and clinical governance to bolster RWAV’s mission of enhancing healthcare accessibility in rural and regional Victoria.

Having previously excelled at RWAV, Jo spearheaded successful internal change initiatives while fostering strong relationships with external stakeholders. Her efforts consistently align with RWAV’s strategic direction, ensuring a cohesive approach to driving impactful change.

Beyond her professional expertise, Jo’s passion lies in uniting communities and championing positive transformations in rural healthcare in Victoria.

Martin is a governance professional and lawyer with experience in private practice and in-house legal roles. He has been a company secretary for public and private sector organisations across a range of industries including VicTrack, Regis Healthcare Limited and Dairy Australia Limited. He holds Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from the University of Melbourne, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia (GIA) and is a fellow of the GIA.

With a rich background of consulting and in-house people and culture roles with the corporate, government and community sectors, Andrea is responsible for leading the implementation of RWAV’s People and Culture strategy, policies, processes, functions and team.

Andrea has significant experience in leading teams across culture, capability, diversity, equity, leadership, organisational development and learning programs as well as core human resources partnering.

With a strong focus on building and maintaining psychologically safe organisations, Andrea’s team is dedicated to ensuring that RWAV is a place where people can work well and be well at work.


Rosemary has had a varied career as an academic teaching economics, public policy and industrial relations, and as a consultant, advocate, health union official and as a director.

She brings strong governance and strategic skills to the Board, as well as knowledge and depth of experience in health policy, economics and investment.

Rosemary was a Director of Aware Super for nine years, and Chair of the Investment Committee for three years. She was also a member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, the Governance Committee and the REM and HR Committee. Rosemary is currently a member of the Investment Committee of Cbus.

She was the Secretary of the Victorian Psychologists Association Inc for 20 years and knows first-hand the difficulties in attracting and retaining health professionals in rural and regional Victoria.

Dr Louise Manning is a rural GP Obstetrics trainee practising in Central Victoria where she delivers general practice, obstetric and sexual health services. Growing up in a small town she has lived experience of the difficulties accessing healthcare in rural and regional areas, and is dedicated to advocating for equitable health outcomes regardless of geography.

Louise is also a Board Director of the Rural Doctors’ Association of Victoria.

BAppSci GradDipBus MBus GAICD FIML

John Biviano is an experienced senior executive who has held many senior roles in government (Health Dept) and also in professional associations related to healthcare. Until recently, John was the CEO of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, where he oversaw the digitisation of a range of Member offerings, including aspects of training. 

BA (Politics/Philosophy) BEc GDipBus MBA GAICD FGIA

Roger is an accomplished CEO, Non-Executive Director and Chair with experience in the health, human services, law enforcement, education, transport, and environmental industries – across private, public sector and not-for-profit organisations

.He brings strong governance experience, commercial acumen, risk management and strategy skills combined with a passion for innovation and business development having also been Chair of numerous Finance, Audit, Risk, Investment and Community Advisory Committees.


Assoc Prof Phelps has practiced as a Gastroenterologist and Acute Physician in regional Victoria for more than 20 years.

He trained in safety and quality at Dr Brent James’ Institute at Intermountain Healthcare in the US and has held management and leadership roles in Victoria and Tasmania. More recently he completed a two-year project as Director of Clinical Governance for Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

Grant currently works as an independent consultant providing advice to hospitals and organisations on clinical leadership and safety and quality

LLB BSc MMgt (Strategic Foresight) GAICD

As a lawyer and business consultant Jane has worked with company boards and senior management across a range of areas including IP commercialisation, internet-based businesses, healthcare products/services, privacy and data/IT security. Jane is currently general counsel for .id Consulting – population demographers, economists and forecasters.

Jane served as a director of BreastScreen Victoria for 10 years, is a current director of Ballarat Health Services and chairs RWAV’s Governance Committee.

BMed MMedSci FRACGP FARGP FACRRM DipPractDerm DipMedHyp DipFP DipBusAdmin GAICD

Assoc Prof Rawlin is an experienced General Practitioner and medical educator. He is currently in clinical general practice in suburban Melbourne and previously practiced in rural Victoria for 10 years.

Assoc Prof Rawlin is Chair of the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaborative and a past Chair of the Mental Health Professionals Association and is a board member of the Mental Health Professionals Network. He is also the Medical Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Victoria.
He is a member of the RACGP Victoria Council.

Albert Giorgini is the Senior Advisor to CEO at RWAV.

As an experienced finance executive, with an extensive career in public transport and in the automotive and industrial gas sectors, Albert has honed his skills in driving financial performance improvements with a commercial and business transformation focus.

Through his strategic financial skills, Albert has demonstrated an exceptional capacity to lead and develop large teams in complex and changing environments to achieve the financial and regulatory requirements of the business. His extensive experience has given him a deep understanding of the industry and its challenges, equipping him with the expertise to drive impactful change.

Albert has highly developed communication and stakeholder management skills to support his strong planning, analytical and financial performance improvement acumen, always striving to create innovative solutions that drive growth and success.


Lauren commenced in the role of Manager People and Culture in August 2018 and is responsible for leading the implementation of RWAV’s People and Culture strategy, policies, processes, functions and team.

Lauren’s team is committed to implementing activities and initiatives to support the achievement of RWAV’s strategies and strengthen RWAV’s position as an ‘Employer of Choice’.

Lauren is an experienced Manager and HR professional, with a career spanning the professional services, automotive, defence, and not-for-profit sectors.

BHlthSci(Hons) MPH PostGradDipMgt GAICD AFCHSM

Lauren Cordwell commenced in the role of Chief Executive Officer in August 2023. She took on the role of Acting CEO in April 2023 and previously served as the General Manager since February 2020.
Lauren has leadership responsibilities for strategy, communications, data, stakeholder engagement and program delivery.

Lauren’s team is committed to supporting communities in rural and regional Victoria to have timely access to affordable and safe health care.

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