Natasha Davies, our DON student, talks about her experience with IHNA and has some advice to offer nursing students.
What made you decide to become a nurse? Was that a good decision? Why or why not?
One of my first jobs as a teenager was in aged care. After moving to Melbourne in the late 90’s I gained employment at Kew Cottages as a disability worker. I loved working there so much I gained a Certificate IV in Disability at RMIT which back then was 1 year full time. I worked at Kew for 5 years before going on to work in spinal care and ABI. My heart has always been in caring for people. After 20 years in Disability I decide it was time to upskill so applied at IHNA to do my nursing. My Mum is a nurse and I always aspired to be a Nurse of her calibre.
Has your Diploma of Nursing helped you to access career opportunities that you would not otherwise have had?
Of course J I loved aged care but knew I wanted to work in an acute setting once a qualified Nurse. It has given me the skills to confidently care for patients in an acute setting.
What was it like doing a 12 month graduate program at North Park Hospital? What kinds of things did you do on the graduate program?
Whilst a student at IHNA I was lucky enough to have North Park as one of my placements. I worked in the Medical and Surgical wards whilst there and absolutely loved it. It was an incredibly fast paced setting that at times made me think “What have I got myself into?” but at the end of each day I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do. I also knew this was where I wanted to work. I made it known to the educators and ANUM’s that I would be back. I was given the opportunity to do everything all the other EEN’s did. I did wound dressings, IV, SC and IM medications, I assisted with Urology patients learning about TURPS and catheters. I attended to paediatrics who had had ENT surgeries which was daunting to begin with but so very rewarding at the same time. I also learnt a lot about post op care of Orthopaedic patients.
Northpark was the only Graduate Program I applied for and out of 330 applicants I was successful in gaining a position. I chose Surgical, Medical and Rehabilitation as my 3 rotations and was lucky enough to get all 3. The education days were amazing and shared with 2 other Healthscope Hospitals. The paper work and assessments I thought were finished at College were only just beginning. With wonderful preceptors in each ward and highly qualified educators and ANUM’s I managed to get everything signed off and felt confident that I had the ability to perform all the necessary tasks I was taught, and there were many.
When you go to volunteer in Africa, what kind of work do you expect to be doing? What kind of skills that you learned from your Diploma will be needed in your volunteer work?
I will be placed at Levolosi Hospital. The hospital is busy serving the surrounding communities. There are a variety of jobs that the volunteers can do. In addition to general healthcare, Levolosi does HIV/AIDS screening. There is a maternity ward here which can deliver 3-5 caesareans per day. Clinic hours are set at least twice a week to see patients, get screening and tests done, and receive medical assistance. Volunteers will have an opportunity to service many mothers and children on these clinic days as well.
If someone was considering doing what you did and beginning to study nursing, what advice would you have for them?
GO FOR IT!!!!! I was 38 when I returned to study and although it was a lot of work I wouldn’t change a thing. Put in 100%, work as a team with your classmates, form study groups and never expect everything to run perfectly. Things change, mistakes are made. The best of the best Universities in the country have reputations for being unorganised and things not going as planned. At the end of the day it’s your experience and what you put in is what you get out. Never give up and if you need help ask. All the best in your future endeavours.