Tori Patten
Tori Patten

Tori Patten

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?

For me, rural and regional nursing means more than what I consciously realised. I was born and raised in the Gippsland area and have been lucky enough to undergo my clinical placements rurally at Bairnsdale Regional Health and Central Gippsland Health predominantly. During my third year of study at Federation University I was fortunate to gain a place as a Registered Undergraduate Student of Nursing (RUSON) in the Bairnsdale Emergency department where I witnessed the impact of rural and regional nursing firsthand.

With such a wide variety of patients presenting with diverse conditions they often needed resources and specialised attention that our regional hospitals could not provide, leaving them with no choice but to send them to a bigger metropolitan hospital to accommodate their needs. When doing this, the patients bigger picture comes in to play. If are not a candidate for patient transport or a helicopter, how are they supposed to get there? And commonly, who is going to look after their beloved animals? It becomes an even more daunting experience for the patient as they have but no choice to travel hours away from home to receive their treatment, highlighting the gap and lack of resources between regional and metropolitan hospitals. As an upcoming regional based nurse, I want to help to minimise this gap and provide the communities where I grew up with the care and resources that sees them staying local while receiving the care they need.

Rural nursing for me allows me to care for a wide variety of patients, allowing me to keep old skills and learn new ones, providing me with education along the journey which might not be the same in the larger specialised metropolitan hospitals. It means giving back to the people in the communities that my family and I reside in, and educating and advocating.

Final (University) Rural Report

For my final five-week clinical placement I was happy to be allocated to Central Gippsland Health service’s (CGHS) surgical ward. Upon getting allocated there I felt a bit of pressure as I was used to the routine of the high acuity Emergency department as I was working there in my undergraduate position as a RUSON (Registered Undergraduate Student of Nursing) and had my previous four-week placement there. But knowing I was going to be a graduate nurse in that exact hospital in the following years intake, I knew I had to give it my all and do my best to take it all in and learn as much as I could.

Being ‘out of touch’ of a ward routine had me quickly consolidate what I had learnt previously and what I know now to try make the most of the placement. I learnt very quickly that alike the emergency department things can rapidly go from calm to chaotic with multiple MET (Medical Emergency Team) calls happening on my first day. I genuinely enjoyed learning so much and being in the midst of it all while taking in the big picture of how the ward operates. Being on the ward not only taught me how to nurse pre and post-operative patients, but an array of other skills were included but were not limited to; how to recognise the deteriorating patient, how to liaise with the wider team such as the operating theatre and doctors, how to manage my time to efficiently, handle a full patient load and common procedures that I had not had that much experience with such as blood transfusions, insertion and care of catheters and nasogastric.

In the five weeks that I was there I was able to see the diversity that exists in both the way people nurse, and the patients and their presenting conditions. Being a surgical ward, we had patients who were involved in car accidents to those which were more common surgical procedures like hernia repairs. I was able to be there to provide pre-operative care and take patients to theatre, then be on the receiving side gaining a handover from the theatre nurse in recovery, provide post-operative care and follow patients’ journeys all the way through until discharges, including escalating the patients care and handing them over to the critical care unit (CCU) or to another specialised hospital if that was required.

The experience I gained in this placement is something that has helped me transfer from a student nurse to a graduate nurse. It has given me such a variety of exposure that I will be able to transfer that skills and knowledge I gained on this placement to be able to nurse in multiple other areas. It has also helped me on a personal level as I sometimes struggle to have the confidence in what I am doing, where the staff and educators at CGHS empowered me in believing in myself and my practice.

Post Grad Rural Placement Report

For my final rotation and edging closer to completing my graduate year at Central Gippsland Health I have ending up remaining in the emergency department. I am currently in my last week as a “graduate nurse” before turning a new chapter and commencing work as a transition nurse, diving into independent learning and a less supported year.

First off, I would like to speak about the support and learning opportunities I have had during my rotation in the emergency department. The whole team have welcomed me and made me feel like all the small questions have been worthy, while providing me with education (often at 4am if its not too busy). With growing experience with all the differentiating presentation that we get down in sale I feel as through my knowledge and expertise has grown with every single patient. I look forwards to expanding this knowledge to truly feel competent in all types of presentations.

Secondly, I would like to address the elephant in the room (covid-19) and how it has changed the way we work. While we often have to adapt to change with the flow of the department and are used to keeping up with change, it has been a challenge within itself to keep up with the new directions from both the state government and the decisions made from the executives of Cghs to keep our community safe with the ongoing changes and updates the pandemic has thrown at us. We have gone from wearing surgical masks, to N95 that we are fit tested for to determine if it is protecting us at work, to wearing full PPE and isolating every single patient that shows any glimpse of symptoms of the virus. This is very strenuous, donning and doffing every time we enter an isolating patient’s room, if the patient needs help, we need to don and doff, if a patient has a question we need to don and doff, or in a life-threatening situation we need to don and doff, which creates extra pressure on time, which puts us beyond with all the patients. We have been repeating these processes, every day all day. Until I become sick with covid-19, missing an entire month of my graduate year in my favourite rotation yet, after having discovered a cardiac condition that is believed to have come from having the virus itself. Having recently returned to work, I can sympathise with my patients on a deeper level.

Moving forwards, I am excited to continue on in the emergency department as a transition nurse before heading back to the surgical ward. I am nervous but excited to have the new responsibility this role has and starting to get my head around further study and gaining my Advanced life support package. Hopefully leading on to further my career with additional post graduate study come 2023. Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Rotary Club of Sale for encouraging nurses to stay rural and providing us with financially assistance during the year which really helps people build a foundation in the region, thank you.

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