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Briesha’s journey to becoming a graduate nurse

Hello all!

My name is Briesha (pronounced Brie-sha) and I am one of sixty new graduate nurses at Peninsula Health.

Let me start by saying what a pleasure it is to have the opportunity to write this blog and share my adventures, my daily struggles and fears, as well as my triumphs and achievements over the next 12 months as I grow from a student nurse into a confident, yet novice registered nurse at Peninsula Health.

To assert that this journey has been an easy one would be an immense understatement. So far it has taken me four years and over 800 hours of unpaid clinical work to get to where I am – not to mention the amount of assignments, hair pulling and tears along the way.

My story began back when I was only three years old. My sister was diagnosed with a rare heart condition and spent the majority of her time between the ages of 5-12, in the Royal Children’s Hospital.

To say I knew at this point that I wanted to become a nurse would be dishonest, hospitals absolutely terrified me! However as I grew older I began to appreciate the complexities of such an amazing career, as did my sister, who began her nursing career in 2011. The way a nurse’s attitude, empathy and knowledge could affect even the worst days changed the way I saw everything.

In 2007, my mum met someone and our family expanded. We moved to Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula. I attended an amazing school in the centre of Frankston and over the years my awe for such a beautiful town and its many hidden treasures has grown exponentially.

During my high school years it was made abundantly clear that my future was approaching faster than I would have liked to imagine. The question “what are you going to do when you leave school?” was muttered at least three times a day by every teacher. When I was 16 years old I honestly thought I had no idea what I “wanted to be”, however by the time the choice of subjects came around, I had settled on something health related and didn’t think much of it again for another few years.

Year 12 came around in a blur and it was time to choose which university I wanted to attend. By this time paramedics was clear in my mind, but as any overthinking person will tell you, many other issues had me doubting this career choice. High staff burnout, low pay grade, low job availability, just to name a few. The careers counsellor told me to not worry about these things, to just follow my heart, but my concerns were not appeased.

The day of truth came around and I got the ATAR score I required and when university offers came out I got my first preference – Emergency Health (Paramedics) at Monash University – but I had no great feeling of happiness or relief.

I accepted the offer, bought uniforms, books and was a few weeks off starting the course that would decide my future. But alas it wasn’t for me. To this day I’m still not sure why or what compelled me to call up the university and switch into the Bachelor of Nursing.

A year and a bit later I was finally sure that this was what I was supposed to be doing. After feeling so much uncertainty, walking into a patient’s room and taking care of them at their most vulnerable felt so natural and right.

As both my sister and I grew older and our Mum started travelling more, I occasionally took on the responsibility of keeping her company in hospital. Our time was occupied by her quizzing me and teaching me many nursing things above what was expected of my year level.

I watched the many nurses in awe as they gave oral medications, changed an IV bag, made that annoying machine stop beeping – all of things that I’m qualified and capable of doing now.

There were always our favourite nurses – the ones that would take the extra minute or go the extra mile to make my sister laugh and smile, or laugh as we got up to crazy antics and pretend they didn’t see the pizza delivery to her room. These are the nurses I looked up to and adore – the ones who go that extra mile and do the things “beyond their job description”. Hopefully I can live up to the high standard I have set for myself and improve the lives of my patients on a daily basis.

Once again the day of truth came around very quickly and suddenly it was time to start applying for jobs at all the different hospitals. You only get to choose four public hospitals to apply to however this time I wasn’t unsure about the choice I had to make.

Almost all of my placement hours had been completed with Peninsula Health and I was adamant this is where I would work. After my interview I felt sick. It hadn’t been a complete train wreck but I was so nervous I’d been sweating profusely and was just unable to concentrate. This is probably one of the only real times I’ve lost my composure. I think I cried when I read the words “Congratulations on being matched with Peninsula Health!”

Offers had come out early and I had landed my number one preference. This was the first and only time since in my entire life I have cried tears of joy.

As a graduate we have three rotations and spend four months in each area of the hospital learning and growing. My first rotation is in the Frankston Emergency Department (or the deep end, as everyone keeps reminding me). I am lucky enough to have spent four weeks here as a student and hope that this, as well as all those university lectures and assignments (hopefully they’re in my head somewhere) will help me to survive at least these first few weeks that I am sure will be the most difficult! Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me, although I do have faith I’ll survive with all the support I have from the other nurses, educators and of course my family behind me.

Until next time! 🙂

Briesha