Nurses work with individuals, families and other health professionals to care for the health and well-being of people in our communities.
The career opportunities for nurses are many and varied. They might be employed in hospitals (and specialty areas within hospitals such as paediatrics, medical and surgical, and mental health) or they might work in a primary care (eg General Practice) or aged care setting. Nursing can be a rewarding and challenging career; just a few of the opportunities available to nurses are shared in the following stories.
Bernadette Kissick – Registered Nurse
Bernadette Kissick is into her third year of nursing and loves every minute of it. She’s working on a general surgical ward in a busy hospital so she gets to care for orthopaedic, as well as medical and gynaecological clients. Most of the areas she worked in while training to become a Registered Nurse she enjoyed and she chose a busy hospital environment to gain good grounding and time management skills.
Before training as a nurse, Bernadette tried everything, from being a Postie, to Forestry, checkout operator, pool attendant, and warehouse packer. She says nursing is the first profession that she’s experienced complete job satisfaction.
"Two of my sisters inspired me to go nursing, one of them had been critically ill and we spent many long hours in and out of hospital, I would watch the nursing staff caring for my sister and thought how amazing they were, they had a wealth of knowledge, patience and understanding of the holistic care that was needed for someone so ill. My other sister took up nursing at the age of forty; she had gone through several set-backs in her life and spent most of it as a solo mother raising four amazing boys. With wanting to make a new life for herself she demonstrated to me that with commitment, a few sacrifices and determination that if you really want something in life you can have it."
Bernadette completed a short course in Human Biology before she applied for the Bachelor of Nursing. She says at times when she was sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture she would question the relevance of what was being taught but now she is working she sees how important it was to cover so many aspects of the nursing profession. "As a student nurse you have time to interact with your clients and can get through the day without pressure, however, that changes when you become registered, and it’s in this environment that the value of your training really kicks in."
One of the most challenging aspects of training for Bernadette was managing her time between her family, friends and study. "Often it was late in the evening before I would find the time to sit down at the computer to start my studies after being in class for the day, attending to children, their homework, after-school activities and household tasks. You have to learn to be selfish with your time; sometimes you have to say NO… especially when an assignment was due. Your life as you once knew it has to be put on hold. Your social life, your partner, your children and other family members often have to be worked in around your study. I was also a full time student so had to give up my job, this added to the pressure financially, but with a few adjustments to one’s lifestyle, the difficulties faced at the time are worth the rewards at the end."
Her advice to anyone considering nursing; "Just do it, if it has been a dream of yours then please…Do It, don’t put it off like I did, I had always put it in the "too hard basket" . I had to learn how to write an essay as it had been thirty years since I last wrote one, I had to find my way around the library, learn computer skills, get my brain back into gear, find the confidence to stand up in front of a class….but you will learn it, you just have to take that first step forward."
There are so many rewards in nursing, "I love working with people; job satisfaction to me is seeing a client walk out the door feeling that they have reached their optimum health goal." At the moment Bernadette is enjoying the daily challenges of working in a busy surgical ward and learning something new every day. Her plans for the future are exciting. "There are numerous career opportunities available, with further studies and nursing experience you could find yourself in management, or specialising in a particular area, e.g. renal, radiology, or cardiovascular nursing, working in theatre or the emergency department, the list goes on. With nursing as my profession the world is my oyster, I hope to travel abroad and experience the amazing different cultures and lifestyles the world has to offer, and in 10 years who knows….my sister and I have talked about missionary/relief work in developing countries."