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Step out of your comfort zone

9 Dec 2016

Being a student is the perfect time for stepping out of your comfort zone and taking new opportunities, says third year nursing student Lilly Sideris.

Lil­ly admit­ted feel­ing slight­ly intim­i­dat­ed and a lit­tle uneasy about ven­tur­ing into a rur­al envi­ron­ment for her place­ment. Then she was sent into a for­eign med­ical envi­ron­ment. But the place­ment, she says, has pro­vid­ed her with the expe­ri­ence and con­fi­dence she needs to begin her career as a reg­is­tered nurse.

I think I am speak­ing on behalf of all reg­is­tered nurs­ing stu­dents when I say that place­ment is often a daunt­ing yet excit­ing expe­ri­ence. As a stu­dent in my third and final year of stud­ies at Flinders Uni­ver­si­ty, I found the thought of work­ing at a small rur­al hos­pi­tal in an unfa­mil­iar town an intim­i­dat­ing prospect. How­ev­er my keen inter­est in rur­al and com­mu­ni­ty health over­ruled this unease and I was enthu­si­as­tic to under­take my eight-week place­ment at the River­land Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal in Berri, South Australia.

The River­land Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal pro­vides a broad range of med­ical and sur­gi­cal care to local res­i­dents. I was excit­ed to be placed with­in the peri­op­er­a­tive unit, even though, I had no recov­ery or the­atre expe­ri­ence. If it were not for the friend­ly and encour­ag­ing staff, I would not have gained near­ly as much con­fi­dence or clin­i­cal expe­ri­ence as I did. I appre­ci­at­ed the warm friend­ly atmos­phere of this coun­try hos­pi­tal, and I found it to be a pos­i­tive work­ing envi­ron­ment. The nurs­es, anes­thetists, and sur­geons were always will­ing to share their knowl­edge and include me in their work. Being one of the two stu­dents with­in the unit, I was exposed to all nurs­ing roles with­in peri­op­er­a­tive care: admis­sions, scout­ing, scrub­bing, anes­thet­ic assis­tance and recovery. 

A place­ment in a small coun­try hos­pi­tal offers par­tic­u­lar oppor­tu­ni­ties for advanc­ing clin­i­cal skills and increas­ing knowl­edge that may not be avail­able with­in a metro or city hos­pi­tal. I under­took var­i­ous oppor­tu­ni­ties to broad­en my knowl­edge by work­ing a day with­in the acci­dent and emer­gency ser­vice, the dial­y­sis unit, and under­tak­ing venipunc­ture train­ing with the IMVS service. 

I also had a chance to explore a new part of South Aus­tralia, spend­ing the week­ends by the river­side, vis­it­ing nation­al parks and neigh­bour­ing towns. I was for­tu­nate to stay at the accom­mo­da­tion sup­plied by the hos­pi­tal, and every­thing was con­ve­nient­ly with­in walk­ing distance. 

I would encour­age all stu­dents to under­take a rur­al or remote place­ment. It improves both nurs­ing prac­tice and per­son­al development. 

The River­land Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal was my final place­ment and con­clud­ed my stud­ies as a stu­dent nurse. I can­not thank CRANAplus enough for mak­ing this expe­ri­ence pos­si­ble under the Under­grad­u­ate Remote Place­ment Scholarship.