Justine-Kirstie Scott
Justine-Kirstie Scott

Justine-Kirstie Scott

Rotary Club of Sale
Rural Nursing Scholarship 2020

Federation University, Gippsland Campus, Vic
Final Rural Placement – Bairnsdale Regional Health Centre
Post Grad Placement – Bairnsdale Regional Health Centre

Past Rural Nursing & Medical Scholarships Program

Why do I wish to do rural and remote training?

My name is Justine and I grew up in the Bairnsdale area.   I always pictured myself raising my family here where I feel a strong bond to family and community.

I was drawn to nursing by my grandmother who trained at BRHS (Bairnsdale) before nursing in the city.   She settled back in the East Gippsland area while I was young and worked as a bush nurse.  During this time she shared a journal with me about her time as a relief bush nurse traveling to rural and remote communities.  Reading these entries I was amazed at experiences she had  and I came to understand how important the nurses’s role is in rural health,.  Her experiences inspired me to follow her path into nursing.

For a majority of my clinical placements I have been placed in rural hospitals with my final year placements at BRHS and I feel lucky to have been accepted into BRHS graduate program for 2020 and am excited to take on the challenge.

What draws me to rural health care is the diversity and complexity of patient needs and the challenge to treat to the best of our ability with the resources that are available.   All while being able to keep patients close to home and close to their support systems.   Rural nurses are required to have a strong knowledge base on a range of health areas and not just one specialty like you may find in metropolitan hospitals.  This drives me to continue learning and build on the knowledge I have learned while at university.

Rural nursing reaches into  the heart of communities and exposes nurses to the most vulnerable times of patients lives.   It is a privilege to be there in these moments to offer empathy and care to members of my own community that I live amongst.

Final (University) Rural Report

For my final clinical placement I was allocated Bairnsdale Regional Health Service which I am now working at as a graduate nurse. I feel like I had a 6 week head start on learning the hospitals policies and paperwork as well as getting to know procedures and some of the staff as well. My final 6 week clinical placement was broken into two three week rotations, starting in theatre and then finishing in the emergency department.

Going into theatre was very daunting. It was an area which I hadn’t seen myself ever working in but I was eager to don theatre scrubs and learn as much as I could. I quickly learnt that not only do the nurses working in that environment have to understand our nursing standards, they also follow the Australian College of Operating Room Nurses standards (ACORN). These standards cover standards relating specifically to the perioperative area. Throughout my three weeks I rotated through the day procedure unit, the post anaesthesia care unit and into the theatre learning from the anaesthesia nurses along with scrub and scout nurses. I can say that theatre nurses have a wealth of knowledge about airway, anatomy, procedures as well as the risks associated to look out for post operatively. I really enjoyed the PACU recovering people after anaesthetic, protecting their airway until they are able to do so themselves and also ensuring that the patients are pain free and comfortable before discharge to the wards or home. I found the scout and scrub nurses’ role intriguing and would love to further explore this after my graduate year. Overall I really enjoyed the theatre placement. I found the nursing staff had a great relationship with the anaesthetists and surgeons which is vital when working so closely. The team worked well across all areas and assisted each other. I would definitely consider further study and a career in theatre.

For my second rotation I went into the emergency department and it was a world away from theatre. The emergency department is somewhere I always have wanted to work. I found the three weeks to be very fast paced but I learnt so much. I was able to focus on primary and secondary assessments and worked hard to improve these. I was able to be active in caring for people in very vulnerable situations and worked with the medical team to treat these patients when time was a critical factor. Seeing patients arrive critically unwell, in pain and scared to then see them either discharging to home or being admitted onto the wards with pain under control and a treatment plan in place felt very satisfying. The emergency department was unpredictable and no two days were the same. At times I felt out of my depth with such a large knowledge gap but the nurses were so supportive and focused a lot of energy on my learning. They helped me to feel confident to head into the ED on my second rotation during my grad year.

Overall I found this final placement to be very rewarding. My eyes were opened to theatre as a career option which I had not considered before. Although I was happy to have the placement completed and being one step closer to becoming a registered nurse, it also means the safety net is gone. But I do very much look forward to working as a graduate nurse.

Post Grad Rural Placement Report

What a year it has been!!! Not only is it an accomplishment enough to complete our grad years but we have done it in a global pandemic! I started my year in aged care and watched the changes roll in, masks, shields and restrictions. I think the restrictions on visitors was probably the hardest part for the residents, they quickly got used to our masks but the lack of connection with family was heart breaking to watch. It was great to see the ways the team worked hard to ensure the residents were still connected with video calls and even window visits. That time feels so long ago now.

My last rotation was the emergency department and it was quite the contrast. It was a whirlwind getting back into that clinical environment after 6 months in aged care but with the pandemic I felt it was a sink or swim moment. The team feedback was positive and I started to find myself in that environment. I quickly realised I loved emergency nursing, the fast paced nature, new presentations and the feeling of helping our community, I definitely wasn’t in love with the PPE though. The hot gowns, N95 masks (plus there blisters) and shields but felt glad to have access to them when other countries were reporting mass shortages.

I feel that in the past year I have been able to grow my skills, form great professional relationships and gain confidence. I would like to thank the Rotary sponsors for assisting me over the past year.

I have now started a transition year in theatre and am eager for the challenge!

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