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Faces of Peninsula Health – Q&A with Tessa Slinger

Tessa shares her experiences of when she was a nursing student in the Monash @ Peninsula (M@P) program.

Q: What was the best thing about the M@P program?

A: Having the same facilitators throughout my placements, has allowed me to grow more as a student nurse, as I was able to form good relationships with them. This helped me become more comfortable in asking questions and for guidance as they began to understand my strengths and weaknesses over time and in turn build on them to enable me to become a better nurse.

Q: What was the clinical facilitator support like?

A: From my experience, all my facilitators were easily contactable during any time of the day, for help with a clinical skill or just someone to debrief with.  They were approachable and were regularly on the wards checking in on you. The support was encouraging and valuable to my experience and learning. Even now as a graduate nurse these clinical facilitators are still happy to help out when they can, this shows the strong relationship you build with them.

Q: How did being in the one organisation as a student and now as a grad helped you as a learner?

A: I was familiar with the environment and how the hospital systems worked, which made the transition a lot easier as I was able to focus more heavily on providing patient care rather than trying to learn the basics of the organisation. Having my first rotation on the ward I had my last placement on as a student, I found really helped with my confidence as I was familiar with the staff and ward environment. As well this familiarity, I believe it also helped with my time management on the ward compared to a new environment where it would take longer to complete things if I wasn’t sure where things were and how they worked.

Q: What would you say to students thinking about enrolling in the M@P program?

A: The benefits extend far beyond your undergraduate studies into your nursing career. What have you got to lose?

Q: Can you describe a significant moment in your learning journey?

A: The thought of calling my first MET (Medical Emergency Team) call was quite confronting and nerve wracking. After the first time I was reassured of the support you get from the whole treating team and in particular the senior nursing staff. This helped me develop an understanding during emergency procedures and the importance of being an advocate for your patient’s health as nurses are the ones at the patient’s bedside to first notice these changes.

Working during the Covid-19 pandemic is a massive learning curve for everyone, especially for graduate nurses with the added pressure of starting off their careers and taking on new responsibilities and roles independently.

Q: Why did you choose Peninsula Health?

A: I chose to join the Peninsula Health M@P program as I had heard positive comments about the organisation from other people. The location was ideal for me, making it easier to adjust to shift work during placement periods. I then chose to apply for Peninsula Health for my graduate year as the experience I had as a student was enjoyable and I wanted to continue developing as a nurse in a welcoming and enriching environment.

Q: What plans do you have for your career when you finish your grad year?

A: After my grad year I plan on applying for jobs at Peninsula Health, hopefully on one of the wards I have rotated to during this year. However, a new experience in a different ward would be a good opportunity to learn new skills specific to that area, I have a particular interest in emergency nursing as you would experience a range of different conditions. Wherever I go, I am assured it will be an exciting learning opportunity to build on my clinical skills and knowledge.

If you’re a Monash University student interested in applying for our M@P program, go to the clinical placements area of your Moodle site for more information or email map@phcn.vic.gov.au

If you’re interested in a nursing role at Peninsula Health, check out our careers page for current vacancies.