Nicola Duffield
Nicola Duffield

Nicola Duffield

Rotary Club of Sale
Rural Nursing Scholarship 2022

Federation University, Gippsland Campus, Vic

Final Rural Placement – Barinsdale Regional Hospital
Post Grad Placement – Barinsdale Regional Hospital

Rural Nursing Scholarship Program

Why do I wish to do rural and remote training?

I was born and raised in East Gippsland and wish to continue giving back to my community. I want to enrich my little girl’s future in the exact community that I grew up in. A community that is accepting and everyone and somewhere I can grow and develop as a care giver. Rural nursing will help me experience better work/life balance and practice a broad range of specialties. This will benefit me in the future by acquiring a range of skills and be a jack of all trade to be able to help wherever I an and potentially hep other upcoming nurses.

I am an active volunteer at my local sporting clubs and enjoying engaging in team sports around both Wellington and East Gippsland Shires. I love meeting new people and learning about their whole life adventures. I love gaining insight to their lives and being there for them when they need it the most. Attending rural services will allow me to continue following patients from the beginning to their health treatment to the end and make that impact that I am drastically seeking to experience. Thus, allows me to promote better health outcomes not only for patients but families involved as well of the community.

I have been lucky enough to attend all my clinical placement regionally. I have been placed at both Central Gippsland Health Services and Bairnsdale Regional Health Service during my four years of study with Federation University. Both have given me great exposure to working environments and situations that have made me feel as a compassionate advocate. I was able to experience a mix of ward specialties that allowed for diverse opportunities. The atmosphere of the hospitals was a great sense of belonging. There is an opportunity for flexible rostering that allowed autonomy, library resources for employees to use and multidisciplinary collaboration. The support from preceptors, knowledge from multidisciplinary teams allowed for so much more professional development and fostering new skills. I am a keen learner and excited to see first-hand the value of culture in smaller districts.

Final (University) Rural Report

My final clinical placement was allocated at Central Gippsland Health Service in Sale for five weeks on the Medical ward. Before the beginning of my placement I was so excited to consolidate my nursing skills whilst gathering any helpful information to help reinforce my care for the wards whilst I was still a student and for future management as an RN. As my first week rolled around, I hopped at every opportunity I could while I was there and took an even further step by going out of my comfort zone and begun taking on a full patient load before I started my graduate year. Reality hit as one end of ward was made a COVID ward. This was a real eye opener on how important PPE is to protect you and your patient. This was a great experience to see the mental and physical attributes of nursing during a pandemic, whilst juggling graduate application procedures and life in general.

In the five weeks of placement I was able to see a diversity of patients coming to and from the hospital doors. The way the staff adapted to every situation without thinking twice is an amazing skill I can’t wait to gain in my care. No day was the same and every staff member was so supportive in a way that made my confidence grow that I never knew was possible. Their encouragement and belief in me strengthened my resilience to keep pushing when I wasn’t familiar with tasks, ever doubting myself or distinguishing medications.

The exhaustion of donning and doffing is real and a whole load of different emotions, but the outcomes are sensational with the amount of team work involved and collaboration with patients centre of care. Being involved with patients in isolation has provided me with a sense of gratefulness to help care for people but also feel safe in doing so and be rewarded at the end with improved outcomes.

After completing my last clinical placement for Federation University, I have since received my registration and can now call myself a RN. Being able to recognise myself as a RN is an unbelievable feeling and a massive sense of accomplishment. I strongly encourage fellow students to keep pushing through, as this is just the beginning. Having support from the Rotary Health makes it that much more special and achievable for us rural students to help give back to our communities and is a beautiful feeling when patients recognise our passion for our people.

I have since received my first rotation in the Medical/Surgical ward at Bairnsdale and can’t wait to be exposed to a whole range of nursing skills. I look forward to what the future brings ahead as a Graduate Nurse.

Post Grad Rural Placement Report

I am now entering my fourth month in Tambo a medical surgical ward BRHS as the first rotation in my graduate year. This year has gone so fast, been unpredictable but so joyful at the same time. Tambo ward is one of the busiest wards in the hospital with an added COVID wing to make it even more versatile. I have had many patient with COVID or SCOVID so far and it feels just like another day as this is the “normal” for me starting my career during a pandemic. I have donned and doffed that many times I have lost count specially in my first month. I have been unfortunate and have had COVID but not due to exposure in the hospital and the many outbreaks that occur within. My family contracted the virus at a sporting event and one by one we all had to isolate over a period of time. My partner got it first and it hit him bad for the first few days, but my daughter and I had no symptoms at all. It is quite fascinating seeing the amount of people affected differently no matter your vaccination status or health status.

The first four months have flown by and where I begin to find my feet around the ward. I have asked so many questions that the Nurse In Charges now look for me if I have not made my appearance for the day. This makes me feel valued as a nurse and not a burden for the million questions as I did not realise at the start this helps the NIC to also to keep tabs on how I’m going and not drowning in the work loads. Their support has increased my confidence immensely, as my questions are a lot of reassurance ones to ensure I am on the right track and. The education staff have been amazing with someone always readily available no matter the situation or task. I have been overwhelmed many times amongst the first few months but always guided from the whole medical team on the ward to help out as needed. The team work amongst each discipline is an amazing attribute to see and how they all work together and around each other for each individual patient.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few months as there are so many practical procedures that change each shift. The hands on and manual tasks are where I learn best putting my theory to practice. This area of nursing is very fulfilling and rewarding. It’s as simple as making a cup of tea for someone or pulling up the bed sheets for a patient to receive recognition for your care. It has been a massive learning curve adjusting to morning and afternoon shifts. Time management works very differently on an afternoon as many discharges, admissions and patient deterioration can occur. Work life balance has been a juggle but with a supporting family it is slowly becoming an easy piece to the puzzle of such a busy and important part of our life. I look forward to my next challenge of undertaking more learning packages to become up-skilled and instead of passing over tasks that I can proceed with myself once undertaken the mandatory practices and supervised tasks. These tasks include nasogastric insertion, CVADS and CBW. I can not wait for what the next few months will bring and look forward to new type of ward nursing for my next rotation in palliative and paediatric care.

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