Bridget McNicol
Bridget McNicol

Bridget McNicol

Rotary Club of Sale Rural Nursing Scholarship 2016/2017

Federation University, Gippsland Campus, Vic
Final Rural Placement – Sale and Bairnsdale Hospitals
Post Grad Placement – Bairnsdale Regional Health Service

Past Rural Nursing & Medical Scholarships Program

Why do I wish to do rural and remote training?

I was born and bred in Sale and now live in the lively little community of Stratford.  I have lived overseas and have lived and worked in Melbourne but could not pick a better area to live and raise a family than Gippsland.

Although nursing was not my first career choice when I finished high school, I became drawn to the profession when my father passed away over 10 years ago in our family home, and I was in awe of the palliative care nursing staff that looked after both my father and my family at such an emotional time.

Palliative care nursing is the area of nursing that I wish to pursue following my graduate year.   This career path will not only fulfill my desire to give back to my local community, it is also the area of nursing I feel is best suited to me personally.   In my current role as a Personal Care Assistant in an aged care facility, I thoroughly enjoy caring for residents that are in the final chapter of their lives.

I have been very fortunate to have all of my acute and high acute nursing placements at both Central Gippsland Health Service and Bairnsdale Regional Health Service.   I have enjoyed each placement at both of these hospitals and have found that despite being rural and regional health care facilities, they offer the most up to date, state of the art services and procedures.

Final (University) Rural Report

Prior to commencing our employment we had to complete 17 online competences that are mandatory for all nursing staff employed at BRHS.  Our first week included two days of orientation ranging from meeting staff, a walk around the facilities and hands on training.  The following two days were supernumerary shifts where we were buddied up with another registered nurse to become orientated to the ward.  For the next six months, I will be working on the Rotamah ward.  This is a mixed ward with paediatrics, palliative care and general medical patients.  There is also a maternity section located at the end of the ward.  I was happy with this rotation ward as I am interested in specialising the palliative care.

My second week (which I have only just finished), was my first time working solo as a registered nurse.  To be honest, I was very nervous.  It was a very surreal feeling working on my own without someone by my side reassuring me that I was doing the right thing, and being next to me when I needed to ask a question.  It was a similar experience to when you first got your P plates, and you drive for the first time in the car on your own.  I am not shy when it comes to asking questions though.  At times I felt like a burden to be constantly asking questions, but better ask than to make a mistake.

Post Grad Rural Placement Report

The final rotation of my graduate year of nursing continued in the medical ward (Gabo) at BRHS.  The ward had moved into the new section of the hospital, however continued to work amongst builders and trades that are still renovating the old section of the hospital.  This in itself was a challenge due to lack of space, not being able to find where things were put and not to mention the noise and dust etc.

By the end of this six month rotation I felt like I was one of the team not only with the other nurses, but also with the doctors, Allied Health staff, and clerical and management teams.  It was a very busy time leading up to Christmas and nearly every shift I worked we were either at capacity or over capacity.  This was a very stressful time however I felt that the skills I had learned over the year allowed me to deal with the stress.

I was rostered on to work both Christmas and Boxing days which was ok.  My family and I had created our own Christmas and Boxing day celebrations on the 23rd and 24th of December.  It did not bother me much working at that time of the year, although it was very quiet in comparison to the rest of December.

In mid-December I was told I was successful in my application for a Transition year at BRHS.  This is another 12 month supported year contact that allows me to work in the specialty area of Oncology.  I have fixed shifts of two days a week working in oncology, and I also have a smaller contract to work in the Flanagan ward (rehabilitation) one shift a week.  Working just three days a week is perfect for my work-life balance, but I also have the option to pick up more shifts and hours if needed.

I decided to apply for the Oncology speciality even though palliative care nursing is still the area of nursing that I wish to work.  Many of the patients that are receiving chemotherapies are on palliative chemotherapy, therefore I believe I am widening my skills and knowledge base.  I have just completed two shifts in Oncology just this week and I have found it to be very overwhelming, however the staff and management are very supportive and I am confident that I will thoroughly enjoy my next 12 months.

I would again like to take the opportunity to thank Rotary Sale for offering this scholarship.  Receiving this scholarship has eased the financial burden of continual study throughout my graduate year.  On the two occasions that I attended the Rotary meetings in Sale I felt very welcomed and met some great members of my community.

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