It was only two months into her job as a nurse when Mecklyn Elakane saved an emergency patient who almost died. “The guardians and relatives of the patient surrounded him and were crying, but I managed to save him,” she says.

Mecklyn, from Kompiam District in Enga Province, is an awardee of the Australia Awards PNG Scholarship. She obtained a Diploma in General Nursing through this scholarship program in 2021 and is now serving at the Kompiam District Hospital.

Back in high school, when Mecklyn was unsure of which career pathway to choose, the unfortunate death of her aunt became the decider. “Seeing the doctors and nurses trying their best to save my aunt’s life inspired me to become a nurse,” she says.

However, Mecklyn was not accepted to the tertiary institution of her choice after completing year 12 at Sir Tei Abal Secondary School. She didn’t give up easily, upgrading her year 12 subjects she then reapplied to nursing colleges, and made it to Enga College of Nursing to complete her nursing qualification.

She earned herself a nursing officer job at the Kompiam District Hospital and is now serving her own people despite the vast challenges that come with tribal fights and poor roads or none at all. She says that it is too difficult to build roads through the mountains and fast flowing rivers, causing barriers for the villagers to access health services.

Regardless of the barriers, Mecklyn says that it is rewarding and exciting to be part of a clinic patrol team, that reaches out to the remotest villages by plane. “Through clinic patrols, we provide health education, immunisation for children and pregnant women, health checks, and medical treatment.”

Now, the Acting Officer in Charge of the Outpatient Department, Mecklyn works for more than 12 hours, seven to eight days in a row because she is one of the only two nurses in this department. “This makes me feel stressed and exhausted, but I am proud because I know I am called to serve,” she says.

Mecklyn says that she works hard with determination to become a nurse practitioner in the near future. “I want to continue educating myself and become a leader in this profession. I think the organisation I’m working with is a great place to do that, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

She says that she is thankful for the Australia Awards PNG Scholarship. “The scholarship means a lot to me in terms of the sponsorship and also the opportunity to become a member of the PNG Australia Awards Alumni Association (PNGAAA).”

As a member of the PNGAAA, Mecklyn attends workshops that are hosted by the association to learn different skills. She says, “The first workshop I attended after completion of college was a two-day ‘work-ready’ workshop. We learned how to write job application letters and curriculum vitae and how to be successful in a job interview.”