Hayley Bartlett
Hayley Bartlett

Hayley Bartlett

Rotary Club of Sale
Rural Nursing Scholarship 2021

Federation University, Gippsland Campus, Vic
Final Rural Placement – Central Gippsland Health, Sale
Post Grad Placement – Central Gippsland Health, Sale

Past Rural Nursing & Medical Scholarships Program

Why do I wish to do rural and remote training?

Living and working in a rural area offers a number of professional and personal benefits.   I believe the profession benefits of working in a rural area include greater autonomy and responsibility, a diverse patient mix and many opportunities to grow my clinical knowledge and skills.

My clinical placements in regional hospitals have provided me with a well rounded education and opportunities to learn, ask questions and practice procedures in a calm environment.

Rural health care of course, does come with its challenges, however, on my placements I witnessed solution focused thinking to be at the forefront of my rural nurses’ mentality.   When rural nurses are working with patients who have many barriers to overcome, innovative thinking is required to obtain patients’ their best possible health care.   I believe rural nursing are resourceful, use solution focused thinking and execute their skills with a can do attitude.

Rural nursing also tend to experience many different aspects of nursing in a smaller hospital, as such they are inclined to become multi-skilled quite quickly; which gives graduate nurses working in rural hospitals a strong platform to develop their career.   A rural nurse has a broad scope of practice with skills and knowledge to match.   The attributes of flexibility, adaptability, innovation and resilience are essential in rural nursing, as the resources available to them are often limited.    Rural nurses learn to do more with less out of necessity and may also be required to undertake multiple roles including clinical care, health service management and clinical education.    I hope that by completing my graduate year in a rural hospital my skills are knowledge in these areas will be developed and improved.

Rural and regional areas offer a relaxed family friendly lifestyle and the opportunity to live in a unique natural environment.   Living in a rural area also follows opportunities to experience a supportive local community and enjoy the benefits of living close to work, without the traffic congestion experienced in urban environments.

Final (University) Rural Report

My final clinical placement took place at Central Gippsland Health from July to August 2020, right in the midst of Covid19 and our second lockdown. I was placed in the medical ward, which I was initially disappointed about, as final placement is usually in an acute area. But with many of my fellow students having placements cancelled completely, I felt myself lucky and decided to embrace it and use my time to really fine tune my skills, in particular my time management skills. I was given many opportunities to do this, with both of my mentors incredibly knowledgeable and willing to guide me. Whilst I have no doubt the skills and knowledge I gained whilst on my final placement, will be invaluable to me throughout my career and give me a head start with my graduate year; it is not this knowledge that stands out as my most important lesson during my final placement.

I was lucky enough to spend two days with the clinical care coordinator and it is these days that are my most memorable. Before spending my two days with the clinical care coordinator I had no idea what their role entailed and had never even bothered to think about it. Whilst their job involves a lot of emailing, talking on the phone, attending various meetings and paperwork; what was role modelled to me was the patient centred care that they display. Patient centred care to me before this point was something that was talked about a lot at university. I saw it as a buzz word, a word that looked good in essays and research and something that we were told we should all mention in our graduate interviews. This concept that seemed to be so important to everyone, was something that I had not seen readily displayed in real life hospital situations. That was until I spent two days with the care coordinator. The key component of his role was listening to patients, listening to what the most important thing to them was and then figuring out a way to make that most important thing happen.

Let me give you an example, a lady in her eighties, was admitted that morning, until that morning she was a self-caring, independent woman, who lived in her own home, whilst also providing a high level of care to her husband, after he suffered a debilitating stroke. This lady was admitted when she woke and could not use her hands due to excruciating pain. She was unable to grasp objects, had a fever and a rash. Whilst the priority of the medical team was to relieve her pain and determine the cause of her symptoms and subsequently treat her. The role of the clinical care coordinator was very different. He asked this lady what the most important thing to her was. Her answer was one that I was not expecting. She had no concerns about her pain or what was causing it. She wanted someone to sort out the care of her husband. Her husband was at home alone and with no family close by she was extremely worried about him. The most important thing for her was knowing that he was ok and that he was being cared for. The care coordinator moved swiftly, with many phone calls organising a bed for this man in one of the local nursing homes. Which was no easy feat; due to Covid19 all of the nursing homes required a negative Covid19 test prior to admission. As this man could not drive, a ride had to be organised for him to be taken to the testing centre, and with much persuasion one of the nursing homes agreed to take the gentleman in an isolated room, whilst they awaited the test results.

When the care coordinator and I went back to tell the lady that her husband had been accepted to the nursing home she burst into tears and was unbelievably grateful. This situation to me optimises patient centred care, the patient had no concern for her own health, her concern was for her husband, and had this concern not been addressed I feel certain that her health would have been further negatively impacted due to the stress and worry for her husband. This is a situation I will never forget, what we as nurses consider to be the greatest priority for our patients may not always be their greatest priority, which is why it is always important to ask. I saw situations similar to this over and over again in my two days with the care coordinator. Patient centred care is not just a buzz word or a phrase to impress others, it is the most important thing to our patients and therefore the most important thing.

Post Grad Rural Placement Report

It is only as my graduate year comes to completion, that I am starting to feel a sense of belonging to the nursing profession. It may well be in my own head, but I have started to feel accepted by my peers and to be treated as an equal colleague.

My multiple rotations have offered a range of clinical experiences, however as I am only in each rotation for a short period of time it can be hard to socialise within the cliques and affiliations within the workplace. As a graduate RN I see myself as different from the other RN’s. Being different, I think has some impact on the acceptance of graduates and may account for why other nurses in the unit do not always fully include graduates into their social grouping, coupled with the knowledge that graduates will rotate into another unit soon.

While at the beginning of my graduate year I was afraid of errors; feelings of incompetence; and found a significant amount of my work to be new and challenging, I have now developed my confidence. I am feeling more independent which is important as the graduate program will no longer be there to support me. I have seen the graduate program as an umbrella under which I could take shelter if I required it. As a graduate I did not see myself as a fully-fledged
registered nurse, rather I was a ‘graduate’ somewhere between student and registered nurse.

As my graduate program ends and the additional support ceases, I am left to function on my own, but I know that the program has prepared me well to move on in my thinking, as well as into the specialty area of peri-operative nursing and hopefully career progression. As I stated in my previous report, I will begin my postgraduate studies the day after my graduate year is complete. My post grad is The Master of Nursing – Peri-operative, at Deakin University in Burwood. Whilst completing this study I will be working in the theatre at Central Gippsland Health four days per week. This will allow me to put my theory into practice, which is fantastic for me as I am a hands-on learner.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for providing me with this amazing scholarship during my graduate year, it is an honour that I do not lightly, I hope I have managed to do the Rotary organisation proud.

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