During my final third year placement for my nursing degree I spent four weeks in the Fraser Surgical ward at the Bairnsdale Hospital. I then went on to complete another two weeks at the Lakes Entrance District Nursing and Doctor clinic part of Gippsland Lakes Community Health.
The Fraser ward of the Bairnsdale hospital is a fast-paced surgical ward with 20 acute surgical and medical beds. During my time on the ward I learned how to put into practice many skills I learnt whilst studying my degree. I also had the opportunity to learn and practice new skills whilst on placement. I was shown how to prioritise my work load and how to provide the best care to my patients that I could.
This placement, being my last acute placement before I completed my degree, was stressful. I am a person who puts extra pressure on themselves to do the best I can in every situation and when something doesn’t go perfectly to plan I am too hard on myself. However, the support and guidance I received from the staff and my nursing educators during this placement block was amongst the best I have ever received and I truly thank them all. They have helped me to become the nurse I have always dreamed I would be.
After my four weeks on Fraser I was lucky enough to spend one week district nursing in Lakes Entrance with the team from Gippsland Lakes Community Health, and then spent the following week at the clinic in Lakes. This was my first community placement for my degree, I had been anticipating it for months and I was not disappointed. I learnt that the way we do things in the acute setting is very different to how they are done in a person’s home. While we still have protocols and work within our standard of practice, the pace is not the same and you really get to know the people you are caring for and their families in their own home environment. I did find parts of this job area hard, both professionally and personally. Providing palliative care to a patient in their homes was both rewarding and saddening. Providing care not only to the patient but to their family members as well was one of the most rewarding parts of my time on placement. To be able to give comfort where it so desperately needed and to ensure that everything you could do for that patient and their family was done during the passing of the patient was very humbling.
Whilst I loved my time in district nursing I also enjoyed spending a week in the doctors’ clinic. This was such a mixed bag of clinical areas and the nurses who work there are so diverse in their skills and knowledge. In one cubical we could have a paediatric patient and in the next an adult with a wound that needed to be dressed. It truly was like a mini emergency department with some lesion removal thrown in for good measure! These nurses were a true wealth of knowledge. Dealing with so many different types of patients and illnesses every day, I learnt so much there that I will take with me for years to come.
I feel like my final placement truly set me up for the graduate year in the best way possible. The knowledge and experience I gained whilst in a supported environment was second to none and I will forever call these nurses friends and colleagues.