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Five minutes with Brooke

Five minutes with Brooke

New EN Brooke Bennett. Photo: supplied

Brooke Bennett is an enrolled nurse working at a regional hospital.

Why did you choose to become an enrolled nurse?

It wasn’t until COVID-19 hit in 2020 when I lost my hospitality job and ended up working a domestic position in my town’s aged care facility. From there, I just fell in love with nursing.

Watching the nursing and healthcare staff interacting with each other and residents really made me appreciate nursing and how rewarding the career can be. So, in 2021, I enrolled in a TAFE Diploma and spent the next 18 months commuting three days a week whilst maintaining a full-time job. By far the best decision I’ve ever made, I haven’t looked back!

What’s been your career journey since graduating?

I was extremely lucky to land an EN grad program position at Kerang District Health. I’m proud to say that I am still working here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The program consisted of two three-month rotations in their nursing home and acute ward. I worked a 0.8 roster during the program and continue to do so.

Completing their grad program really gave me the added confidence I needed. Going from student to registered enrolled nurse can be daunting. However, the support I received – from other nursing staff, clinical nurse educators and management – has been so uplifting and helped me recognise my worth and my current skills.

How have you found starting your career in a regional hospital?

I am fortunate enough to live in the area – just a short 20-minute drive to work! Working in a regional hospital has its perks – we experience and work with a lot of interesting cases. Being able to look after patients with different acuity and health backgrounds provides such a great learning experience – for new and seasoned nurses.

I love that every shift I always learn something new. I think one of the biggest challenges of working in such a small hospital is the lack of resources. Our hospital is lucky enough to have so many amazing GPs who can be on-call as we do not have any within the hospital. When patients arrive in our urgent care centre and require investigations like CT, ultrasound, x-ray, etc we transfer them to another hospital which have these services especially ‘after hours’.

What are your three best tips?

I utilised these tips throughout my own grad program and continue to do so now:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No question is a dumb question. The biggest mistake you could make in your career is not having the confidence to ask for help, especially when it comes to a patient’s care.
  2. Build a good rapport with your nursing team and your clinical educator. They will be the backbone to your career and will support you through anything.
  3. Make sure you have a solid self-care routine. Nursing can be both a rewarding and challenging career, but the worst thing you can do after a stressful shift is take that energy home with you. Build a good routine to fall back onto when you need it, your mental health will thank you later.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

I have built a solid self-care routine for after my shifts. I always make sure I spend quality time with my partner, family, and two pet rabbits. I also always make time to go for a walk or the gym to help myself wind down. Some days are a struggle to maintain this lifestyle, but at the end of the day I always listen to my body and go from there.

Where to from here?

I’ve just enrolled into my Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Sturt University. I’ll commence in February 2024 and I couldn’t be more excited to pursue this next chapter. My goals as an enrolled nurse are to continue working at my current hospital and to make every shift count. Being so new to this field, I try to take every day as a learning opportunity.