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International Nurses Day

Hello there!

I cannot believe that after years of study, I have now officially entered the workforce hitting the ground running… literally! My name is Bernadette Pulis and I have started my nursing career as a graduate at Peninsula Health. Only just into my forth month of the program, (I cannot believe how quickly that has gone already), I have been exposed to plenty of new learning experiences. But before I get into the juicy details of nursing, let me give you an insight into myself.

I have always had an interest in health and wellbeing, so what better option than to study a Bachelor of Nursing at Monash University, Peninsula Campus. I completed the three year degree last year; working really hard to pass all my essays, laboratories, exams… seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And I’ve made it!

I was even lucky enough to be chosen to take part in a Clinical Exchange Program in November 2014 for six weeks in England at Eastbourne District General Hospital. It was such a great experience to compare nursing in England and Australia. It was also great to travel over Europe and return to Australia five days before my Graduate Program began… I must admit, that was full on!

I am also involved with a local Lifesaving Club where I’ve coached nippers, been a Youth Coordinator and, recently, joined the committee as Club Captain. I’ve been exposed to several rescues and first aid cases on patrol, adding to my want to give back to the community.

Nursing has also given me the opportunity to give back to the community. When I give the best care I possibly can to my patients and then see them finally walk out those hospital doors looking well; it is such a proud and great feeling, knowing that I helped to get them to where they are.

So as you can see, I really do like to keep myself very busy, and now I am very excited to have this opportunity to share my Nursing Graduate experience with you all as a ‘Blogger’ this year.

I would be lying if I said that these first few months of nursing has been smooth sailing, because it definitely hasn’t.

I am lucky enough to be in the new building at Frankston Hospital for my first and third rotation. I am currently in the Bass Ward, which is a general surgical ward. My second rotation will be in 4GN (a general medical ward), and then the Emergency Department.

The Bass Ward thus far has been quite a challenge. With the pressures of completing daily tasks in a timely manner whilst learning how to complete some tasks which I have never come across before; it has been a steep learning curve. I could not have survived these first months without the overwhelming support from all the nurses, PSAs, doctors, my other graduate nurse buddies and even my patients.

Every day brings new challenges, new experiences, and I always know that no matter what, I won’t have to experience anything alone because someone is always willing to help me; no matter what question I ask. And there is no such thing as a silly question! Even asking on my first day if it was okay to administer paracetamol by myself.

I have come a long way since then though! Surprising myself too! Chasing doctors for IV orders and clarification on the treatment plan for patients, communicating to different members of the healthcare team, patients and relatives, transferring patients to and from theatre and radiology, and even giving handover (which still scares me!).

I must admit, I really wasn’t prepared for the stress and demands of this job. From our tireless efforts working non-stop during each shift I think it’s fair to say I’ve joined quite a demanding but rewarding workforce. But the positives which come out from helping my patients and seeing them get better definitely makes nursing a rewarding career. All in all, International Nurses Day is such an important day to recognise the hard work of all nurses, showing dedication and commitment to patient care.

Celebrating the work of nurses all around the globe, I was lucky enough to experience nursing in England last year for a six week Clinical Exchange Program, exposing me to the similarities and differences of nursing in two different countries.

I have found it difficult at times to be able to give the best care possible to my four patients, most of the time I feel like I am always running around the ward and hardly spending time by the patient’s bedside. In England (I worked in PACU and CCU), the nurse to patient ratio isn’t regulated. So I could definitely understand the major stresses of nurses in England, where one nurse in recovery in CCU was taking care of eleven patients by herself.

In England, there were healthcare workers around the hospital who assisted in completing jobs for nurses. This included jobs such as making beds, completing obs, meeting hygiene needs for patients, etc.

The use of technology in hospitals is growing quite rapidly; with medication charts, pathology results and Doctor’s reports all accessible at our fingertips. Nursing in England exposed me to completing assessments on iPads and iPhones, even taking obs on iPhones. Although, I do freak out when the computer systems decide to crash and completing any tasks then becomes even more difficult, or with medications, just impossible.

There are many nurse practitioners in England, and I was amazed to hear what their scope of practice is expanded to. I was able to spend time with a Nurse Practitioner who completed endoscopies and made her own diagnoses!

I’m sure I will have so much more to tell in my next blog, but until then, I am very happy to answer any questions you may have!


  1. Doris May 12 2015

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Dawn Walterfang May 18 2015

    Keep it up Bernadette! You do so well… Nurse Practitioner ain’t so far away for you – just get through your grad year first!!

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