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Nursing on a surgical ward

The following blog is written by Peninsula Health graduate nurse Tom Paterson. 

How quick the year has gone by. I’m sure there are many other grads that can support me in the perception of how fast the year has gone as we draw to the conclusion of our second rotation. I’m currently completing the last week of my second rotation on Bass Ward, which is predominantly a pre and post- operative surgical ward.  My experiences on Bass Ward and as a graduate nurse continue to stay positive, challenging and rewarding. 

Reflecting back to the commencement of my current rotation I felt completely out of my depth. Bass is a very fast paced ward with patient acuity being relatively high. I honestly felt out of my depth. Sitting through my first Bass handover and listening to the in-charge talk about ICC’s, IDC’s, NGT’s, IVF, PCA’s, morphine, ketamine, swinging, bubbling, drain tubes, wounds, theatre, met calls, ICU ….. the list goes on – then to realise these are your patients. I definitely felt stressed and anxious. A level of self-doubt definitely begins to manifest in the back of your head as you question you abilities. Although I think half the fun of being a gradate nurse is how far you can challenge yourself and how far out of the comfort zone can you push yourself while using the safeguard of ‘I’m just a grad’.

Nevertheless I had no other choice but to embrace the challenge and the rewards that accompany that. In retrospect I’m grateful for opportunity that Bass has given me to continue consolidating my skills and knowledge. It hasn’t been an easy journey by any stretch of the imagination but it has been a worthwhile one.

An important part of nursing that I’ve begun to appreciate and respect the importance of is positivity and the power of positivity. Everyday that I spend in this profession gives me a greater understanding of how important and beneficial a positive mindset is. I’ve found from the beginning of my graduate program that I get the most out of a day or any situation with people with a strong positive mindset and attitude. Those people are always able to make good out of any situation and bring those around them up with them. There’s no doubt in any nurse’s mind that some days can be extremely taxing both physically and mentally but with great peers and support around you it does make it a little or a lot easier. Fortunately for myself I have met a lot of these helpful people on Bass Ward and thank them for everything they have done because they have definitely made my rotation valuable.   

As mentioned above my take home message to any nurses or aspiring nurses is have a positive mindset and embrace what every challenge has to offer you!

– Tom