Main Content

Five minutes with Chantel

Five minutes with Chantel

Enrolled nurse Chantel Thomas. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

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.