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One last time…

Hi there readers!

I’m writing to you for one last graduate nurse program blog, because as of two weeks ago, I’m no longer a nursing graduate. Time for a pay rise – yay!

Many people throughout the year have told me “enjoy being a grad, it goes by so quickly”. And  I certainly have enjoyed it. But, it hasn’t been quick. Nor has it been too long. The 2013 graduate year has been exactly as long as I needed it to be.

Let’s do the maths. The certificate I’ve proudly got hanging above my desk as I write this says that I’ve completed 56 hours of theory and three clinical rotations. Putting aside the theory, and taking away leave, that’s over 200 shifts (not including doubles or extras). In that time, there’s been a lot of firsts, many of them that I’ve shared in this blog. The first day in a new area of the hospital, and particularly the first first day of nursing, were daunting. Even my first day after being a grad was somewhat nerve-wracking. The first time somebody doesn’t get the pan quite all the way underneath them. The first time you dodge bodily fluids. The first screaming child you have to treat. The first time you accidentally drive a patient’s bed into a wall (thankfully he had a good sense of humour!).

There’s also the first time a family member blasts you in front of a room full of people when they disagree with a treatment. That one was closely followed by the first time you calmly assert yourself as a nurse. When rationalizing and reasoning doesn’t work, then there’s the first time a colleague, or even the boss, sticks up for you and supports you. Or, my personal favourite, the first time another patient (whom I wasn’t looking after) calls from across the room “calm down and let him do his job, it’s a *expletive* hospital!”.

Of course there’s a literal ton of procedures, many of which I’d read about or done on a model, but never to a real person. The first chest tube coming out. The first nasogastric tube being inserted. I’ll admit, that one I did struggle with a bit. The first time you have to help someone empty their new stoma bag. The first time you see a person’s face when they find out about their cancer, or other terrible illness. The first time you have to treat a patient who is physically healthy, but contemplating suicide. The first time you ‘enter ninja mode’ to avoid being struck by a drug-affected patient, and the first time you comfort a colleague who couldn’t. The first patient who’s been brought in by helicopter.

When I put that in writing, it seems like a lot. But the truth is, that’s the life of all nursing grads, all over Australia. Nobody will say that nursing is easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. At the same time though, you never want to give up, because everybody likes to make a difference.

Fortunately for my former graduate colleagues and I, our time as newbies has finished, and the fresh batch of graduate nurses are flooding through Peninsula Health sites and making their mark on healthcare.

And they’re already doing a great job.

For the final time, stay safe!

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