Renee Dukakis
Renee Dukakis

Renee Dukakis

Rotary Club of Sale
Rural Nursing Scholarship 2021

Federation University, Gippsland Campus, Vic
Final Rural Placement – Central Gippsland Health, Sale
Post Grad Placement – Central Gippsland Health, Sale

Past Rural Nursing & Medical Scholarships Program

Why do I wish to do rural and remote training?

Hindsight is a marvellous thing, looking back I know when I first respected those in the nursing profession. My great grandmother, had a stroke that left half of her body paralysed. With amazing staff and rehabilitation, the last stage of her life was filled with not only frustrations, but also joy. In and out of hospitals we became familiar with different hospital staff. Some nurses would come in and complete the tasks necessary. They would take the time to understand her jumbled speech and would make her laugh. I respected these nurses and am still to this day am so grateful for the happiness they brought great grandmother.

Years later, I had moved to Gippsland to be with my now husband. I wanted to find a career and I have no doubt that the impact those nurses had on me gave me the courage to apply for nursing. My immediate family is filled with hard workers, but none of them have a university degree. For this reason, attending Federation university was daunting, but one of the best decisions I have made.

Throughout my time as a student I have fallen in love with both the career of nursing and Gippsland. In undertaking my placements, I have become passionate about serving the community of Sale and its surrounds. Clinically, I am enthusiastic about preventative healthcare with a holistic approach that educates patients. I understand the value of critical thinking in reducing the risk of representation and increasing quality of life. Personally, I understand the value of allowing the patient to feel heard no matter the circumstance and individualising care to suit their unique needs.

If you asked a younger Renee what she wanted to be when she grew up, the answer would not have been rural nursing. I could not have imagined completing a bachelor’s degree, but I am so glad I have. The trajectory of my life has been shifted, and I now dream of being a consistent face of Central Gippsland Health. That I would be a nurse that has the opportunity to care for different generations of the same family throughout my lifetime.

I understand the importance of serving my local community and do so in whatever capacity presents itself to me. Maffra is now, and will continue to be home to me, and I look forward to getting the opportunity to now serve my community in a uniform as a registered nurse.

Final (University) Rural Report

My final placement was allocated to BRHS (Bairnsdale Regional Health Service) with four weeks of oncology and a final week within their HDU (High Dependency Unit). Throughout this time, I was able to understand the basics of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. I was grateful for the opportunity to upskill, completing my competencies to access and redress PICC and PORT sights. A fantastic opportunity that came with a weight of responsibility in caring for an immunocompromised community during a pandemic.

As BRHS is a regional hospital, the oncology unit would see a wide variety day admissions. These patients mostly suffered from an array of immune and haematological disorders. I was able to administer blood products within the appropriate guidelines as their treatment required.

While I do not imagine I will become an oncology nurse; I have gained a new respect for the work they do. I know well that I will see oncology patients in other areas of the hospital, throughout my career. This will occur as they struggle with symptoms of their treatment or as their disease progresses. My time in oncology was invaluable as I gained insight into these patients’ stories and how their lives have so often been flipped upside down.

My time in HDU was brief but enjoyable as I continued to utilize learning from my buddy nurses in a new setting. I relished the fast pace environment and found the cases fascinating. I enjoyed working within a unit where I could see myself working one day.

After completing my placement, I have since received my registration and am a qualified nurse. An accomplishment I am so proud of.  I am currently waiting for my grad year to begin at CGH and am preparing for a first rotation within the ED. I find myself both counting down the weeks with excitement and nervousness. I appreciate your support as I learn and grow throughout my graduate nursing year in the regional setting of Sale.

Post Grad Rural Placement Report

I am not sure how to adequately sum up the life of a graduate nurse over the last few months in Victoria. I am so grateful for the people within the health care system that continue to stay positive in the midst of so much angst. I am thankful for the mentors that have taken time out to check in, educate and inspire. My heart breaks for those nurses in metropolitan areas that have been going through the hard yards for far too long. Selfishly, I am glad to be in Gippsland, my rural home with fresh air ten steps away at all times feels like a refuge.

Despite all these things that I hold onto it has been a steep learning curve being a graduate nurse in 2021. Each new day brought a multitude of emails and information. Each new shift brought a throng of different staff members each with their own feelings and opinions. I am an empathetic person in my core, a quality fantastic for a nurse. However, during this season I have experienced such fatigue as I take on board my colleagues’ feelings and feel for them and myself. It’s been a time of anxiety, grief and frustration, and the last few months have been heavy.

However even within this tough season for healthcare professionals I am so grateful to be a nurse and have a skill where I can actively help in a time of need.  Practically, I have finished my Maffra District Hospital Rotation and am about to begin my postgraduate certificate in peri-operative nursing. I’m so grateful for my last rotation as I grew more passionate about educating my peers and were able to advocate for my patients and residents in new ways. These skills will help me in all areas of nursing moving forward.

Moving forward I have accepted a contract within theatre at CGH (Central Gippsland Hospital). I will be studying for a peri-operative post graduate certificate. I am so excited to be pushing myself to learn new and varied things. It has already started to invigorate me and make me passionate of what’s to come. The COVID 19 pandemic has reminded me that we need nurses who relentlessly peruse growth. Knowledge is power. This statement not just true for the individual but the community that surrounds them as well.

I would like to thank all of the people within the Rotary team, for the financial support you have given me this year and the ongoing commitment you have to your community.

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