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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.