Simone O'Brien:

Medical Cannabis in a Rural Community; Discussion and Case Studies

Simone O’Brien has spent over 25 years working in rural health across Acute, Emergency, Aged and Community Care. In 2009 she completed a Masters of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) and was endorsed in 2013. In 2014 she developed an innovative community/aged care outreach model that targets complex and vulnerable clients who have difficulty accessing care or have complex psychosocial, physical or pain needs. In 2016, this received pilot project funding and the model was implemented and has run successfully since. She has remained working in outreach with the elderly, disadvantaged and complex clients since. In 2021, Simone commenced a new project with Heathcote Health and Murray PHN that will develop a NP led Model of Care for the Disability Sector in the Bendigo and Heathcote area. 

Simone also works as a Midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at a large regional hospital and has an interest in sexual and reproductive health. In recent years, she has also undertaken on-call locum work in Urgent Care Centres in Central Victoria, where you never know what will walk through the door. 

Simone has previously worked as a Forensic Nurse Examiner for the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, travelling Victoria to assess and treat victims and perpetrators of crime. On a personal note, 2019 was a big year. Simone was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma and had surgery on her right leg. Six months later she had a slip and sustained a significant broken left leg, requiring two surgeries, a lot of metal in her leg and six months off work. Simone spent much of this time studying medicinal cannabis, how it works and what is happening around the world with legislation and access to it. She has since undertaken several courses in prescribing medicinal cannabis and is passionate about patient access to cannabis as medicine.