Nicole Wallis
Nicole Wallis

Nicole Wallis

Rotary Club of Sale Rural Nursing Scholarship 2016/2017

Federation University, Gippsland Campus, Vic
Final Rural Placement – Bairnsdale Regional Health Service
Post Grad Placement – Bairnsdale Regional Health Service

Past Rural Nursing & Medical Scholarships Program

Why do I wish to do rural and remote training?

Growing up in the rural community Hawkesdale in the Western District of Victoria, in a farming community, I came to learn quite early on the importance of rural and remote nursing.   Sometimes there are no doctors so the nurses are the first people on site to help when its needed.   Ever since I was a young child I always remember going to my Nan who was a midwife to attend to the local community.   Whether it be for midwifery duties or general nursing care.

My family and I relocated from the Western District to East Gippsland when I was 12 years old.   Moving to a bigger are gave me many opportunities to begin to pursue my dream of nursing.   When I turned 16, I completed my first Aid Certificate so I was able to help more when it was needed.  My passion for rural and remote nursing has grown in the years I have spent in small communities.   Living on a large farm myself for 2 years, 40 minutes from town mean that may skills as a then student nurse and registered enrolled nurse ensured that accidents were dealt with properly and in a timely manner before we could get the patient to the hospital.

I have always been a country girl and although spent time in Melbourne, found that my roots truly do lie in the country.   I have always wanted to be a rural nurse and honestly can say that this is where my heart and my passion lie.   Rural nursing is a n eye opener and I feel that I will gain amazing well rounded skills during my Graduate year at the Bairnsdale Hospital.

I am an mother of four young boys and to show them through my own hard work and dedication that you can achieve your dreams gives me great pride.

Final (University) Rural Report

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.

Post Grad Rural Placement Report

Since my last report I have settled into the dialysis unit really well. It did take a lot of adjusting as it is totally different from any nursing I have ever experienced. The machines that we use took a long time to master and I found everyday a challenge. The support I have been given from all the nursing staff and patients in the unit has been outstanding! They are the real reason I have succeeded in this placement.

I really enjoy going to work every day and refining my skills in this specialist area of nursing. I have gained skills that will put me in good stead for any area I end up working in. I really enjoy having the time (most days!) to chat to my patients and to ensure that they are going OK at home. Diet and lifestyle are a major part of what we do with our patients in dialysis, I have found it is also a good excuse to have a catch up with them!

There have been many challenges in the unit and it is always hard if one of our patients passes away. The dialysis unit is like a mini family unit and I have found that you do become very close with not only patients but their families as well. I have also noticed that the other patients all become quite close and they really feel the loss of others.

I would also like to say a massive thank you to the members of Rotary Health for giving me this scholarship and the chance to come and speak at the meeting in Sale was humbling. This scholarship has meant a great deal to my blended family of 6 children, my partner and myself! It has meant that bills that were outstanding due to my 10 years (yes 10!) of studying have finally been paid and we are now able to look forward to being a family with two incomes!

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