Lavinea McMillan
Lavinea McMillan

Lavinea McMillan

Rotary Club of Sale
Rural Nursing Scholarship 2018/2019

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 parents have endeavoured to provide me with the opportunities that VCE and tertiary education provide by labouring tirelessly in the primary industry. As generations of my family have been involved in agriculture and dairy farming, I have been acquainted with labourers more so than academics. I can empathize with their struggles in particular and can fully understand their inclination to avoid seeking help for physical and mental stresses. This is knowledge that I hope to apply to my nursing profession and that will motivate me in turn to give only the best of myself to a cause that I believe is worthy. It is my aspiration to fully invest myself into rural and remote communities in the future and especially to help the state of the farming communities health and wellbeing through nursing, specialised care and rehabilitation. I want to be a district nurse in my own rural community – to return and help the community that gave me the opportunity to be a registered nurse.

I am completing a Bachelor of Nursing in 2018. My family and the farming community have taught me how important it is to have an education. It provides opportunities to prosper and change your circumstances which may not have been possible before. I also understand the business of farming and the health problems that exist within the industry. Farmers are very hard workers. Their bodies are worn out before their time and their work is never finished. I believe we need to bring aid to them as it is often difficult for them to leave their property for hours to travel for a timed appointment. This is the reason I wish to be a district nurse in rural Gippsland. I have been fortunate enough to have had all my acute nursing placements at both Bairnsdale Regional Health Service and Central Gippsland Health Service. I understand the communities and strive to advocate and work with them towards better health.

Final (University) Rural Report

My last rural placement, which was six weeks last December, seems a very long time ago already. I am currently in the throes of my first few weeks as a Registered Nurse working at Bairnsdale hospital and I can describe my experience so far as very satisfying. I am finding my feet and developing my skills through experiences looking after people on an acute medical/surgical ward. The support that I felt as a student on the same ward only a month ago has doubled as I’ve taken up my new role alongside very experienced nurses. These nurses no matter how busy they are spare the time to check if I need help with anything – and at the moment I often do! So, I am very grateful for them looking in on me. Starting as a nurse on this ward and being in the thick of things – I’ve discovered how incredibly teamwork orientated and approachable the whole healthcare team is from Doctors and Pharmacy, to Allied Health, Nurses, Porters and Clarks. The culture at Bairnsdale hospital is one to be admired.

My final clinical placement as a student nurse was four weeks in a Oncology day unit followed by two weeks on Tambo ward where I currently work now. I was very happy to have had two weeks on Tambo prior to starting my graduate rotation on the same ward in a month’s time as I felt it was practice before the real thing! Nevertheless, when the time came I didn’t feel ready to leave the student nest despite my training coming to an end. My first day on Tambo as a supernumerary nurse was a nervy one to be sure but it went well. The thing I enjoy most about my new role is that the shift goes by quickly and by the time I’ve done all my care it’s time to handover to the next shift nurse.

The four weeks I had in Oncology was very different from any other placement I had had before. The care was more streamline and less chaotic from ward work, but it still kept me  and the nurses there very busy. Looking after cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and other intravenous infusions required a critical eye and diligent hands on observations and monitoring for any transfusion reactions. These people were very sick and so early detection and intervention was very important in this setting. It was a valuable learning experience for when I needed to look after my own infusions on patients.

I remember in my first week on the Oncology ward seeing a woman finish her final round of chemotherapy that day and jumping up to hug all the nurses who had looked after her. It was a very special moment and I hadn’t properly met the woman, but I teared up at her happiness and the community that that ward had. I hope and know I will have many moments like that one in my career. I also remember priming IV lines until my thumbs were sore! Great experiences and good times.

Post Grad Rural Placement Report

I am down to the last couple of months of my graduate program and this last rotation on Flanagan Rehabilitation Ward has gone very quickly. I’m finding that I’m more comfortable in Rehab as the nursing care is much more streamline in comparison to Tambo Acute Medical Surgical where a patient may need care urgently and the shift can be unpredictable. But in saying that, I’m thankful to have been placed on Tambo Ward as I have learnt so much and my confidence in my clinical skills and knowledge is in a great position compared to when I first started my Graduate Year. It’s good to get outside your comfort zone, and now that I’ve been on Flanagan sub-acute ward, I can now say that I want to work the next few years on an Acute Med/Surg Ward as I want to be tested and constantly build upon my knowledge by being exposed to and caring for very sick patients.

Due to it being a smaller Ward, BRHS Rehab has given me the unique challenge of being rostered on as the second RN on shift. It was a daunting realisation at first, being handed the DD keys and the NIC phone when our team leader went for her dinner break. But now I never hesitate to offer to take the NIC phone so that our NIC can have a reprieve during her breaks. Being on Rehab has allowed me to understand some of the processes of running a ward, with receiving external/ internal phone calls to coordinate patient care.

I have a passion for rural health, and I plan to stay in the country caring for our hardiest workers. Next year I’m hoping and excited to find a position in North East Victoria/ Greater Albury, moving closer to my brother. I believe rural hospitals have their own unique challenges and I’m looking forward to meeting them. Coming to the end of my Graduate Year I’m very satisfied with how far I have come. I remember thinking at the start; if I can make it through the next couple of months of my nursing program, I can do anything if I set my mind to in my nursing career. Thankyou to BRHS for accepting me for the 2019 Graduate Program, I have had continual support and endless opportunities to advance my knowledge and confidence. And thank you to Rotary Club of Sale for providing this generous scholarship to so many new nurses, I hope to pay it forward.

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