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Five minutes with Helen

Five minutes with Helen

EN Helen Panagopoulos

Helen Panagopoulos is an enrolled nurse working at a metropolitan hospital.

What was your first day like?

As with anything new, it was overwhelming, and I am still learning new things as I go.

I was given a few supernumerary shifts with a senior nurse who helped me understand the ward’s routine and how I should structure my planner for each shift.

After I completed those supernumerary shifts, I was relieved I was never truly alone as my team always has senior nurses. I am also grateful that despite not being in a graduate program I can access clinical educators for guidance or assistance when a senior nurse is unavailable.

RUSONS on the wards are also angels and they need more credit for the work that they do. I appreciate everyone and their roles and see the impact we all make with what we do.

What has been your greatest accomplishment during your first year of nursing?

Completing my diploma during the pandemic after not having studied for many years is an accomplishment within itself.

A close second is getting my nursing position after being told it would be hard without a graduate program. I am proof that isn’t true. I was honest in my application cover letter and although I didn’t have previous experience in acute care, there were other qualities I possessed that my employer saw as an asset.

What has been your greatest challenge during your first year of nursing and how did you manage it?

I love routine so I would say the greatest challenge I have managed to adapt to is the constant change. No shift is the same and rarely do things go as planned.

Nursing is no walk in the park and taking care of your mental and physical wellbeing is important. My number one advice is don’t forget who you are outside of nursing and don’t give up things you love.

Where to from here?

I’ve been accepted into university to become a registered nurse. My goal is to complete that course, continue growing within the hospital where I work, and eventually become a Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU) nurse.