Rotary Club of Sale
Rural Nursing Scholarship 2018/2019
Federation University, Gippsland Campus, Vic
Final Rural Placement – Central Gippsland Health (Sale)
Post Grad Placement – Central Gippsland Health (Sale)
Why do I wish to do rural and remote training?
Rural nursing has always been a dream of mine. I believe there is more to this type of nursing than just the rural setting. It involves a whole lot more, including recognising and providing rural community health support, along with building strong patient rapport, which is less likely in a busy Melbourne hospital. I ahve grown up with the ambition to help those in need of medical assistance. I believe I can strongly provide adequate nursing care for these disadvantaged rural towns like Sale and nearby surrounds.
I grew up in a small country town, Valencia Creek, 45 minutes from Sale. This town is not connected to the grid, has only tank water and fire for water heating and warmth. When it comes to living rural, I understand what it feels like to feel isolated from help. In the past my father and mother have had a few traumatic accidents on our property. Without the rural hospital of Sale, my parents most likely would not be here today. over the years my passion has grown stronger and stronger for rural nursing. I perceive Sale Hospital like a halfway hot that the cattlemen would use in the high country when it was snowing. A short stop over means you can re-evaluate the situation and provide necessary adjustments. The Sale Hospital does just that. It provides a life saving emergency department where trauma patients can be stabilised for chopper transport, to the highly trained hospitals like the Alfred, who can specialise in specific areas of care. Not only does this hospital provide for trauma patients, but it also allows general patients to receive the adequate medical care they need on a general basis.
Being a rural nurse stands out to me, as you require a lot of nursing knowledge to holistically care for a patient. Rural hospitals do not specialise in specific nursing ares, rather it involves the nurse being able to care for a variety of patients and perform a variety of tasks. I look forward to learning more about this in my graduate year. I love to be challenged, I love variety and I love being able to make a difference. Rural nursing is so rewarding for me, knowing I have helped not only a patient, but their families as well when experiencing a difficult time. Sometimes just being that person they can talk to is enough to calm the situation and make a difference to someone’s day. With a lot of low income earners and farmers in the area, having a rural public hospital is so important to keep the rural communities alive.
During my nursing studies I have completed placement at Sale Hospital where I was required to provide care as a palliative nurse, wounds nurse, theatre nurse, medical nurse, surgical nurse, mental health nurse and detox nurse just to name a few. Without a rural hospital, the wide variety of healthcare needs would not be provided to rural people, rather they would have to spend money to travel to Melbourne to receive the care they require or nor receive care at all.
Final (University) Rural Report
During my final rural placement in October 2018, I spent six weeks learning the nursing techniques for theatre at Central Gippsland Health. I felt quite nervous starting this placement, as I had no idea what theatre even looked like, let alone what to expect.
For my first two weeks, I was welcomed by friendly staff into the Day Procedure Unit. I spent my time here completing admissions and checking on patients who have returned from recovery. This meant regularly checking vital signs were within normal limits and ensuring the patient was comfortable and had enough to eat. During these two weeks, I felt I grew more as a student nurse with my confidence in communicating with all kinds of people, including patients, other nurses, doctors and technicians. I was never afraid to ask questions, which I believe helped me make the most of my learning experience. When the ward was quiet, I spent this time researching the different procedures, so I could gain a thorough understanding of what the patient had gone through, alongside what to expect in terms of patient deterioration, level of pain they may experience and how to look out for adverse outcomes, such as wound bleeding. I picked up on a few deteriorating patients when they came back from recovery, where blood pressure was dropping, and they were symptomatic. This meant I was able to use my critical thinking skills and intervene with a nursing intervention, such as elevating the legs to improve patient vital signs. Two weeks in day procedure unit made me realise just how vital it is to regularly check on your allocated patients, as they can deteriorate within a matter of minutes.
I then moved on to the recovery ward. This again was a complete new experience for me as I hadn’t utilised my life support skills yet. I spent the first few days observing the nursing techniques and how to use the monitoring equipment. Under supervision, I learnt how to remove a guedels airway and improved my ability in reading an ECG trace. This monitoring was far more extensive compared to the day procedure unit, due to patient’s still under the effects of strong pain relief and anaesthetic. I enjoyed being able to manage airways also. One thing I found the most difficult in recovery, was caring for young children who wake up crying and screaming for their parents. Nursing children is not my strongest skill, I find I get quite nervous as I don’t know how to talk to children, compared to an older person. This is something I am willing to work on throughout my 2019 graduate year.
Throughout my placement, I gained knowledge and increased my nursing skills to be able to spend my last two weeks in the operating rooms. This experience was far more enjoyable than I was expecting. It made me realise how hard theatre nurses work. There are so many things to consider and it all flows into place when there is a strong team work ethic present. I learnt the basics of packing a theatre pack with all the right equipment for the next operation. Just learning the different names of all the instruments was like learning another language to me, but I still gave it a go. I enjoyed learning the hand washing technique and being the scout nurse. I also had a go at scrub nurse, where I scrubbed in for a few orthopaedic surgeries, which meant passing instruments and holding things in place during an operation. It’s a very draining job on the body as you are in a sterile gown, you can’t move around as much as you would like or do the simple thing of scratching your nose. I didn’t find my scrub nurse experience very enjoyable. I was very nervous and being left handed, I wasn’t explained how to pass instruments as a left hander, even though I made the nurses aware of this. There was also a lot of pressure from the surgeon, which is understandable due to time constraints. However, I got to see many interesting operations including, caesareans, carpal tunnel release, cataract removal and insertion, hernia repairs… just to name a few.
Overall, I left this six-week placement with far more knowledge than I would have expected. I have a greater insight into what goes on in theatre and improved nursing skills on detecting a deteriorating patient, along with the importance of maintaining a clear and patent airway. Although I think theatre is not the nursing I would like to excel in, this experience will always be with me throughout my learning journey to establish the nurse I want to become.