I was allocated my final 5-week clinical placement at Central Gippsland Health. While Sale is close to my home town of Bairnsdale I had many mixed emotions about heading off to an unfamiliar hospital environment. During my time at Central Gippsland Health I was placed in the Emergency Department, an area I never had experienced in previous placements. ED was a roller-coaster of emotions and challenges, no day was ever the same you could go from looking after a patient from a car accident, to a patient having a heart attack or straight into providing care for small children and other minor presentations. Emergency Departments can be a chaotic environment at times, it was a great opportunity and challenge for me personally to consolidate on all aspects of my clinical assessment skills and critical thinking in a well-supported environment.
Through all of its chaos, the greatest part of working amongst an emergency department is the team you work alongside and how all medical and nursing staff come together to provide the best outcomes for their patients. It can be a daunting time as a student particularly coming into a busy department, by the end of my 5 weeks I felt very much a part of the team at Central Gippsland Health. ED taught me a lot of valuable lessons both as nurse and personally. From a nursing perspective it was being able to juggle multiple tasks in a timely manner to ensure all patients needs were met, it was being able to provide support to patients and their loved ones during hard times and good times. I took on any opportunity I could to be exposed to all types of presentations that would later help me in my future career. Personally, the biggest challenges faced was being able to clear your mind after a busy day, I used these 5 weeks to navigate through different strategies that would later help me to reflect on a shift and at times deal with tough and emotional experiences that you are often faced with in an Emergency Department.
Now, after almost completing a full month in my first Graduate rotation in Emergency at Bairnsdale Regional Health Service looking back on my last clinical placement I have been able to continue to develop and build on the skills and knowledge I gained during that 5 weeks. It’s pretty amazing to see how rural hospitals treat so many different presentations with the resources that they have. The biggest thing I have recognised during this time so far is the number of chronic conditions that people within the community live with and how important our role as a health service is to provide education and support services to our community to help manage and improve the overall health outcomes of these patients. I look forward to seeing what the year ahead brings as graduate nurse.