Melissa Felmingham
Melissa Felmingham

Melissa Felmingham

Rotary Club of Sale
Rural Nursing Scholarship 2022

Federation University, Gippsland Campus, Vic

Final Rural Placement – Bairnsddale Regional Health Service
Post Grad Placement – Central Gippsland Health

Rural Nursing Scholarship Program

Why do I wish to do rural and remote training?

Throughout each of my placements within rural hospitals, I have seen and been a part of servicing a wide range of people and health issues. I have noticed that living in a rural area, there are limitations in specialist health are services available. The nursing staff in rural hospitals help bridge this gap and provide a high standard of care to each patient. Currently working in the Emergency department at Bairnsdale Regional Health Services, I have first-hand witnessed the teamwork required between the doctors, nurses, orderlies, paramedics and how they communicate with Melbourne specialists when treating patients to gain positive patient outcomes.

I wish to be a part of providing excellent care to every patient I encounter. When commencing my graduate year at Central Gippsland Health Services, I will learn from the hospitals talented nursing staff and grow and develop my skills into an outstanding rural nurse. I have set down roots in Gippsland and plan to remain a rural nurse for the remainder of my career.

Final (University) Rural Report

I have been extremely lucky to have had a variety of clinical placements in rural and remote hospitals throughout my degree. These placements have included, Medical, Surgical and Paediatrics departments at Central Gippsland Health Service. Oncology, ED, Short stay and Medical Imaging departments at Bairnsdale Regional Hospital. Throughout my degree, COVID-19 has caused havoc, with many students placements being cancelled. I feel very fortunate to have been able to complete all of my clinical placements as scheduled. I am also grateful that they have been in rural and remote hospitals, as rural hospitals offer such a wide variety of experiences. The variety of placements have given me a good look into how each of these departments operates and the type of nursing and different paces required. Each different placement has allowed me to focus on various aspects of nursing care such as primary assessments, increased medication knowledge, time management, teamwork and self-confidence just to name a few.

Working in the emergency department I found this area to be very busy and chaotic with no two days ever the same. Then with the added pressure of COVID and suspected COVID patients created another challenge to each shift. The emergency department challenged my critical thinking and assessment skills and showed me the importance of teamwork in such a busy environment.

Working in the short stay area enabled me to focus on many foundational assessment skills, admissions, discharges and transferring of patients within BRH and to other hospitals without the chaos of the emergency department.

My time working in Oncology focused on patient-centred care and being able to work with blood products and immunoglobulin therapy. There was also a focus on sending out referrals to district nursing for follow up care when necessary. Oncology offers its services to a wide variety of patients who travel from Omeo and Orbost for their treatments, showing just how important rural and remote hospitals are.

Medical Imaging has offered a different take on nursing for me. It has highlighted the importance of various drug interactions before procedures and their functions in the body as well as aseptic technique and the importance of being able to work alongside other medical professionals.

The skills and knowledge that I have gained from each placement have been invaluable and I hold great respect for each of these nurses and what they do, especially how everyone has adapted to the havoc COVID–19 has caused.

With the help of this scholarship, I have been able to take time to spend with my family creating beautiful memories over the summer before commencing my graduate year. In the next 12 months will come the challenge of finding a new work-life balance that both supports myself, my family and my new work team.

I have recently received my registration and have been informed of my first rotation at CGHS. This first rotation will commence at CGHS on the medical ward. I am both nervous and excited to be able to utilise what I have learnt in university and be able to put the theory into practice. I look forward to being able to absorb everything from other staff and CGHS educators as this next journey begins.

Post Grad Rural Placement Report

My second rotation has been within District nursing. Of all the specialty areas Central Gippsland Health had on offer District Nursing was my first preference. District Nursing manages care within the community allowing people to stay at home and receive care without the stress of going to the GP clinic.

My second rotation began with five supernumerary shifts where a senior staff member mentored me, showing me the ropes and introduced me to different patients within their homes and at the clinic.

During my time at District, I have gained a greater understanding of wounds and the effects of patient co-morbidities that contribute to reducing wound healing. I have also increased my knowledge in various wound care dressings and learned to adapt to my surroundings as every different patient and their home conditions vary.

The staff have all been amazing and there is always someone on the other end of the phone to help guide and problem solve if needed. On my first solo shift, I encountered a product that I had not used before, I rang the office coordinator for clarification on what was required. The coordinator sent out a second nurse who arrived within 10 minutes to assist and guide me through the wound dressing. The support has been amazing.

I have learned to structure my day very different than being on the ward. Some days go to plan whereas others plans change constantly. One day in particular I encountered three new skin tears on three different clients. These skin tears were dressed following the skin tear protocol and follow-up GP documentation was required. These skin tears also added extra time to each client’s appointments which also changed my daily plan.

I have learnt to admit new clients and send the relevant paperwork to their designated recipients. I have learnt to communicate with multidisciplinary teams to ensure any changes with wound care, observations or anything abnormal are reported back to the GP or relevant team. I have learnt to discharge clients and change client appointments and I always ask for assistance when unsure. No question is a silly question!

To increase my wound knowledge I have booked in to attend further training in a two-day advanced wound course run by Regional wounds Victoria that will be held at Central Gippsland Health. I am grateful for the scholarship as this will help pay to attend this training.

Whilst at District Nursing I have also been able to work alongside some amazing palliative care nurses. This has sparked my interest in possible further studies within palliative care.

I have found that District works with my family life and has enabled me to gain a better work-life balance.

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