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.