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Truly something special – what it’s like to work as an oncology and ICU nurse

Hello again!

I can’t believe it was that time again to write to you all, the graduate coordinators once said that your graduate year will fly and that couldn’t be truer! Since my first blog, I’ve learnt and experienced so much, I couldn’t even summarise them all in this blog!

I completed my first rotation on 5FS the Oncology and Haematology ward and recently commenced my second rotation in the Intensive Care Unit. To reflect on my first rotation, I 

would say to work in Oncology is by no means easy but wow, it is truly something special and something I would love to return to one day. Everyday there was an emotional, physical or mental challenge to overcome but my patients had even bigger challenges to face which really gave me some perspective. It was on this ward, I learnt the positive impact I could make in somebody’s life as a nurse, whether that be supporting them through a new diagnosis, advocating for their wishes and values or comforting them in their most vulnerable moments. I am honoured to have looked after some of the most positive minded patients that will forever shape my nursing.

The beauty of a graduate year with Peninsula Health is the opportunity to work in three different clinical areas throughout the year. However, commencing a new area means all those emotions/nerves I got on day one of starting my grad year returned. I was excited yet dreading change and sad to leave all the nurses and staff I had become so close with and learnt so much from. Change and fear go hand in hand when pushed out of your comfort zone, but I’ve learnt that change brings new opportunities and allows for growth in yourself as a nurse and as an individual. EMBRACE CHANGE!

I was extremely frightened starting in ICU being a speciality area and an area I had never had the chance to see as a student. There were times in the first few weeks where I really doubted myself, my knowledge and my ability to get a grasp on the ICU structure. It felt as though I’ve just started all over again! I just had to keep reminding myself that this fresh start won’t be ‘fresh’ for long and these new surroundings, new faces and structure would soon become second nature just as my first rotation did. As the days and weeks went on and with the help of the amazing educators, nurses, doctors and allied health teams I feel a part of the ICU family and continue to gain more confidence and knowledge each day. Everyday I’m seeing a variety of patients from all different areas – Cardiology, Respiratory, Vascular, Mental Health, Oncology, Surgical, Women’s Health, General Medical, Gastroenterology and Urology – enabling endless opportunities to learn and grow which has had such a positive impact on my confidence as a graduate nurse. I’ve also had the opportunity to do my ventilation competency which is something I’m so grateful to undertake as a graduate nurse.

My tips: I’ve learnt that challenges are gifts and enable you to find a new way to stand so embrace the tough days as they are teaching you more then you realise. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, the earlier you ask the better! Continue to celebrate your achievements, no matter how big or small. Remember to take a break, no seriously take your break! And don’t forget about your life beyond work, sometimes I find working full time that I get into a dangerous cycle of work, sleep, eat that “I don’t have time” becomes my excuse for everything. This rotation I’ve really focused on making more time on my days off to engage in my hobbies, exercise more and catch up with friends and family which has had such a benefit to my energy levels and motivation for work, as well as having rest days when your body needs it to avoid getting sick and eventually burnout. That way you can be the nurse you would want if you were a patient.

Until next time!

Casey 🙂