Shanika Jones
Shanika Jones

Shanika Jones

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)

Past Rural Nursing & Medical Scholarships Program

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

Throughout my rotation so far in the Emergency Department I have put myself well out of my comfort zone to learn new things. This rotation has helped me put into perspective the idea of holistic care and how to think critically. Along the way I have also been maintaining time for myself to ensure I am looking after my wellbeing.

At the beginning of this rotation I felt quite nervous due to feeling like my nursing skills were not thorough enough for the emergency department. However, I’ve kept at it by giving everything a go. I now feel confident with my venepuncture skills and cannulation. Although at times I don’t always succeed, the main thing I have learnt so far from this rotation is that nursing is all about working together as a team to ensure patients are receiving the best care possible suitable to their needs.

I have also been involved in many MET calls (when vital signs fall outside of range). Some of these I find confronting at times, especially seeing family members upset still to this day is what I find to be the hardest part of nursing. Finding the right words to say and comforting people makes me feel very uncomfortable as I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I have learnt to remember if it were me in the same situation, I would want a nurse to just be present with me and explain to me what is going on in the emergency situation. During these met calls I have been allocated the job as the ‘scribe’ which documents everything which has occurred, such as what medication was administered, who was present and patient observations. This can often get very busy and requires me to speak up most of the time to ensure nothing gets missed. Sometimes a MET call can go on for hours and often means I don’t get a dinner break. I find it hard to work through a whole shift without a tea break as I get quite fatigued easily, but as a nurse you must be there for the patients when they need you the most.

Overall, I have been able to nurse a variety of patients ranging from young babies, children, adolescents, adults, elderly, pregnant women and mental health patients. I never thought I would see myself working in this type of environment, but so far, I love it. It is very rewarding and everyday is always different. I enjoy coming into work and not knowing what the day or night may bring. When I drive home, I feel like I have accomplished something and then look forward to going back to work the next day. It makes a huge difference in your wellbeing when you enjoy the job you do.

To maintain my wellbeing, I have been making sure I get outdoors more and doing the things I love. On most days off I will go motorbike riding and just let the wind rush across my face. Not only is this a great stress relief but gives me a huge adrenaline rush which I sometimes need to boost my energy levels up again. I have also been trying to get back to nature by going on small hikes with my house mate. We have been out to Wilson Prom and tomorrow we will go out to Den of Nargun to have a look at some waterfalls. I also took my new triton out for a test drive in the snow for the very first time. It was a very fun day had by all. Slowly overtime my health has been improving as I have been setting goals to exercise at least five times per week. I think it is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so I can provide the best nursing care.

From my graduate year so far, I have found what I believe to be my sense of belonging. My new goal I have set myself for my nursing career is to build my skills up, ensuring I have good advanced life support skills and communication skills so I can become a bush nurse in the Northern Territory. It will be a great experience and I get to see more of this beautiful country we live in.

Post Grad Rural Placement Report

For my third rotation I have been placed at Wilson Lodge Nursing Home. At the start I found this new environment very difficult to work in as I did not receive an orientation shift on my very first day, due to being short staffed. However, the nursing staff were able to help get me familiar with the new environment and learn the routine of the residents.

With so many residents in the one workplace, I found it a bit overwhelming trying to remember who was who and what their daily routines were. Now after a few repetitive shifts, I can provide nursing care to the expectations of each individual resident. I now feel more confident with using lifting machines, whereas previously I used to get very nervous when having to use these. Now it is like second nature to me. I’ve also learnt the importance of regular position changes for palliative patients who cannot shift their own weight. It makes such a huge difference to their overall skin integrity and comfort. I’ve also learnt that nursing is not just about the physical observations, blood pressures, venepuncture or IV therapy. I have realised that speaking to patients/residents about everyday life is very important. It helps build patient-nurse rapport and sometimes as a nurse you are the only person that patient or resident will get to speak to in that day. This refers to the idea of holistic nursing and realising that it’s not all numbers on the chart, but there is a human being sitting in that bed opposite you. I often think of how I would want to be cared for if I were to be in their shoes or if it was one of my own family members. Nursing care should never change in that situation and if your thoughts do, then you aren’t nursing to the best of your ability.

I have learnt an entirely different approach to my time management skills, due to working in such a different environment. I feel that I can now plan my shifts, but still have flexibility for any change that may occur, such as a resident feeling unwell or requiring extra hygiene care.

These basic care needs that I have learnt so far at the nursing home, such as hygiene, toileting, lifting machine use, repositioning, pressure area care and feeding are skills that I will be able to carry throughout my nursing journey. These care needs are something you are guaranteed are going to appear throughout one’s nursing career regardless of what ward you are working in and for that I am very grateful I have been able to experience this and learn so much already.

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