Faces of Peninsula Health – Q&A with Alisha Norton

As a registered nurse completing post graduate studies and working at Frankston Hospital’s Emergency Department, Alisha has taken every opportunity to enhance her knowledge, skills and practice, to allow her to deliver specialised care to patients when they need it most.

We spoke with Alisha to find out a bit more about her role and how she has grown as a nurse at Peninsula Health.

Q: What is your current role?

A: I am currently working as a registered nurse (RN) at Frankston Hospital’s Emergency Department. 

Q: How long have you worked at Peninsula Health?

A: I have been with Peninsula Health for five years. In 2017, I was employed as a newly graduated endorsed enrolled nurse (EEN) and was supported by the Workforce Bureau as I transitioned into nursing.

Shortly after, I secured a permanent position as an EEN at Frankston Hospital’s Emergency Department and whilst working there I completed further studies to become a RN, graduating in 2019.

In 2020, I left the Emergency Department and completed my RN graduate year at Peninsula Health, rotating through Respiratory and Renal Services, the Intensive Care Unit and GIT Surgical. Upon completion of the RN graduate year, I returned to the Frankston Emergency Department.

My passion has always been with emergency nursing, I love being able to deliver specialised care to the members of our community and provide them with support on what can be an extremely challenging day of their life.

Q: What do you do in your day to day role?

A: The day to day role of an Emergency Department post graduate student includes consolidation of a wide range of skills and caring for a diverse range of patient presentations within the department. As post graduate student, I work in a range of roles such the resuscitation bays, mental health, paediatrics, triage, and as a team leader. 

A main focus of the post graduate year is to enhance my clinical skills and acquire the knowledge required to provide speciality care for the critically unwell patient. These patients often require advanced interventions such as intubation and ventilation, cardiovascular support, invasive haemodynamic monitoring and advanced life support.

As a post graduate student, I regularly attend university and complete clinical based practice assessments under the guidance of the Emergency Department education team.

The Emergency Department educators provide fantastic support during this challenging yet rewarding year and have played a pivotal role in my success. I am excited to complete my post graduate and work as a critical care registered nurse and continue my education journey to obtain my master’s degree.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I love that emergency nursing is a rapidly changing and fast paced environment, it promotes the ability to critically think and apply this to decision making. My favourite aspect of being an emergency nurse is the unpredictability of what type of patient may present to the department and always being ready to assess, investigate and provide treatment in a person centred way.

Aside from this, another aspect of my job that I love is the team I work with, without the team, the emergency department would not be what it is. I believe that the relationship between all team members within the Emergency Department is unique and it is amazing being a part of a team that work cohesively to provide the best patient care possible.  The emergency department can sometimes be described as organised chaos, and the team approach is what ensures patients receive optimal care.

Q: What is one stand-out moment or highlight from working at Peninsula Health?

A: A stand out moment for me would be the first time I assisted with intubating a patient earlier this year. I had recently completed my intubation assessment and whilst I was prepared with the knowledge and skills, I was extremely nervous. The team and I completed a delayed sequence intubation, I had my educator by my side to provide me with support and the other doctors and critical care nurses involved all worked together to complete the procedure.  The intubation went well, and I was able to safely transfer the patient up to the Intensive Care Unit. I was extremely proud of myself for completing the skill and am so grateful for the support I received.

To be able to care for someone when they are critically unwell and to save their life is extremely fulfilling. When I reflect back to this time last year when I had just found out I was accepted into the post graduate program, I would have never thought I would be able to acquire the knowledge, skills or confidence that I have now.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

A: This year most of my time has been consumed with studying and caring for my family. I like to spend time with my friends and family. I enjoy camping, the snow and travelling; after numerous cancelled overseas holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic, I am super excited to be back to overseas travelling in December. I am also looking forward to some additional free time now that my post graduate year is completed and have other holidays planned for 2023! 

Q: Why would you recommend Peninsula Health as a place to work?

A: From the moment my employment commenced in 2017 with Peninsula Health I have been supported and encouraged with my ongoing career progression.

When I reflect back, I have achieved so much over the past five years and I am proud to say that Peninsula Health played a huge part in my success.

Another aspect of what I enjoy about Peninsula Health is the community feel within the organisation, it is nice to be able to service the community you live in.