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The Tea Room

Grad Nursing on the Gold Coast

Posted by Lisa on August 20, 2014 at 10:00 PM

I can still remember the excitement I experienced when I opened that email stating I was chosen for employment on the Gold Coast, I leapt out of my seat and ran down to the hotel where my fiancé was working, not forgetting, but ignoring that I was wearing pyjama pants with imminent rips in the backside, impatient to express my delight!

Everyone was supportive, if not a little surprised, only months earlier during a pep talk on our first day back of the third year of nursing school; the students and I were informed that not only New Zealand was facing a job shortage, but Australia was also a doomed destination, with no interest in New Zealand graduates, due to their own influx of new RN’s. I must have done something to stand out, 1500 applied for 300 jobs at the Gold Coast University Hospital last year. It could have been my dry kiwi sense of humour, slightly above average GPA or my efforts to attend a very distant interview, but I am now lead to believe the panel looked upon my volunteer work with St Johns Ambulance favourably.

Obviously it wasn’t all holes in pants excitement; I had work to do… I was going to nurse children; this was a placement I hadn’t experiencing throughout nursing school. What are their normal ranges? Am I confident with weight based dosage calculations? HOW DO I CHANGE A NAPPY?!

While my tertiary education delivered most of the clinical skills necessary to survive in this profession, nothing could prepare me for the ‘hit the ground running’ mentality that is life on the ward. Especially the Children’s Ward, it takes at least double the time to do anything with an infant as it does an adult. Every medication, despite its class, is independently double checked by another RN, and instead of having a separate neurological, respiratory, oncology, orthopaedic or colorectal surgical ward; all the various conditions in these tiny humans are placed into the one area.

Initially I was overwhelmed, and if I had been asked to write this blog 4 months earlier it would have consisted of hysterical sobbing, self-doubt and repetition of the phrase ‘oh god’.
It is fair to say I was a nervous graduate, I suffered many sleepless nights considering the various ways my patients could crash the next day, I would get home from work only to torture myself with thoughts of tasks I may have done wrong, ‘what if‘, ‘did I remember to’, ‘was that right?’

This went on for at least three months, until that highly anticipated time, when all experienced nurses told me that it would just ‘click’, and it did! Suddenly my time management was to a point that I would actually leave at 3:30, I felt satisfied with the job I had done and was able to leave work at work, I stopped dreaming about the patients, and started trusting that when I handed over to the next nurse they would actually be okay.

While determination replaced melancholy, it wouldn’t have happened without the support of those around me, I had compassionate Clinical Facilitators on the Paediatric Ward and a team of New Graduate Facilitators who visit every second day, a sympathetic mentor who has worked in the same area and who could understand my fears and tell me I was actually normal to have them, and friends both here and in New Zealand that were going through the exact same stages of the new graduate grief cycle; feeling overwhelmed, wanting to quit, convincing self to go on, and eventually overcoming all fears and doubts, to finally realise the profession is, and has always been what you want to do.

Now when I am preceptor to student RN’s, I tell them not to accept the fear instilled in us at nursing school, I tell them that there will be jobs, to be proactive, to gain as much work experience in as many different medical settings as possible – like the ambulance service. I tell them to apply anywhere and everywhere despite what they are told about ‘the job crisis’ and I speak of the success of my peers regarding those who did not receive new graduate programs and gained fulltime employment as RN’s.

Now when I go to work and am faced with something that scares the ripped pants off of me, like last night nursing a 3 day old under double phototherapy – instead of running and hiding in the sluice room, I think to myself - I will be a better RN for this experience. And at the end of a long, demanding and often disorganised day, what still brings a smile to my face is being able to write ‘Lisa Yelverton, RN’ at the end of my progress notes, because 3 years, $20,000 and several nervous breakdowns later, those are the letters I’ve earned.

 

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4 Comments

Reply Teniah
12:01 AM on August 21, 2014 
Such a fabulous blog of the real-life experiences of a new grad! I love this....I definitely had similar feelings myself last year, and it's amazing how that confidence is built and changes over time. Thanks for encouraging others along the way, this was a great read!!
Reply Sophie McGrath
5:24 AM on October 20, 2014 
Such a fabulous blog of the real-life experiences of a new grad! I love this....I definitely had similar feelings myself last year, and it's amazing how that confidence is built and changes over time. Thanks for encouraging others along the way, this was a great read!!
Reply Sophie McGrath
5:32 AM on October 20, 2014 
Wow have no idea why I posted exactly the same comment as the one above, now I look like an idiot. Just wanted to say it is amazing much you change from year three nursing student to new graduate RN
Sophie McGrath says...
Such a fabulous blog of the real-life experiences of a new grad! I love this....I definitely had similar feelings myself last year, and it's amazing how that confidence is built and changes over time. Thanks for encouraging others along the way, this was a great read!!
Reply Lisa
4:06 AM on November 11, 2014 
Thanks for the wonderful feedback.
Its nice to look back on blogs like this as your confidence grows and remember how petrified you were - it reminds me of where I have come from and what I have achieved