Enrolled nurse Chantel Thomas began her graduate year in 2019 and is currently studying to become a registered nurse.
What was your first day like?
Overwhelming! I had acutely unwell patients to care for and I felt like all my knowledge went out the window. I didn’t know where to start. However, I was in a supportive environment, so I took a breath, wrote up my time planner and worked through each patient one at a time. I was slow to start, but I was thorough and that helped my confidence grow.
What has been your greatest accomplishment/highlight during your graduate program?
The last six months of my graduate program was on a renal transplant, stroke and neurology ward. By the end of this rotation, I could look after a post operative renal transplant patient and was offered a permanent role. It is a wonderful feeling to care for someone that has received a transplant as this can be their second chance at life.
What has been your greatest challenge during your graduate program and how did you manage it?
I had this idea in my head about the nurse I want to be, which is one doing more than just ticking off clinical tasks. However, some days I couldn’t be that idealistic nurse and I felt some days I was ticking off boxes and unable to provide the holistic care I intended.
I would feel deflated at the end of those shifts, but to manage those feelings I would do self-reflection. I would think of the nurse I wanted to be, the nurse I could have been and the nurse I was. What could I have done differently to change this? Were these situations out of my control? Nine times out of ten they were out of my control. Then I would reflect on what went well. Once I completed my reflection I felt more at ease, less critical of myself, and ready to face new challenges.
Where to from here?
I’m currently completing my bachelor. Studying and working can be difficult, however, I feel working as enrolled nurse has given me a great foundation to link the theory to practical and is a slight advantage.
When studying becomes a challenge, I remind myself why I wanted to become nurse: to be there for someone when they’re vulnerable and hope that I can provide comfort to them.