Tab thrives in the fast-paced world of emergency nursing. Forming strong bonds with colleagues and sharing stories with patients are key rewards of the job.
My name is Tab and I studied the Graduate Certificate in Emergency Nursing at the University of Melbourne so that I could progress my career in the emergency department at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
When I finished high school, I knew I didn't want to do a desk job and I liked working with people. I also had a strong interest in biology and science and knowing how things work, so I thought I'd try healthcare and see how it goes.
I actually went to university to become a paramedic. I entered a double degree in nursing and paramedicine and got three-quarters of the way through my degree and realised that I wanted to pursue nursing more so than the paramedicine side of things. So, I put my preference down for emergency nursing.
In general, nursing is really rewarding. There's definitely good times and bad times, which happen in every job. But one of the most rewarding things for me is the patients that we get to look after and the team that you get to work with. You get to see and meet so many different people and learn different stories from others. In the conversations I get to have with some of my patients, I'll learn about their culture and learn different parts of their language and talk about where to travel in the world. I gain as much from them as they do from me when I'm caring for them.
In the conversations I get to have with some of my patients, I'll learn about their culture and learn different parts of their language and talk about where to travel in the world.
I chose to specialise in emergency nursing because I love the fast-paced environment. All the clinical knowledge and skills that I've gained from working there and being able to specialise in emergency means that I've been able to progress within the department and see more complex clinical situations and work in resource and trauma , which is my end goal. I love the fact that I'm able to have the trust from my colleagues. They know that I'm gaining the knowledge and experience so that I can provide the best care to my patients.
The relationships that you form with the people you work with in nursing is something really special and something that I don't know many other workplaces would have. We bond over some hilarious things and some really quite serious situations. You gain trust and respect from so many others and build so many good friendships while you're providing care for people, making them feel better.
In emergency we don't really have a typical day because every day is different. With ward nursing, which I've had experience in, you have your set tasks and you sort of plan your day out. With emergency, we can't plan. For me, any day can be different as well because I can be allocated to a different clinical area, which can sort of make or break you whether it's going to be high acuity or lower acuity. The volumes are always very, very high where I work, so we know it's always going to be really busy. I'll arrive to work and start to the hit the ground running at seven o'clock if I'm on an early shift and go around all my patients and get hand over and then go from there. I’ll do all the tasks that are required or follow-up lab results to then escalate to doctors if needed, so patients can get admitted or discharged, and put on the path they need to take for their care.
The relationships that you form with the people you work with in nursing is something really special and something that I don't know many other workplaces would have.
I really enjoyed studying at the University of Melbourne. With the support we had from our lecturers in conjunction with the clinical education team who also work with the university there, everything was very cohesive and coherent. There was always someone to seek out if we needed. The assignment content and testing that we had was very relevant to what we'll actually be learning. I think it’s really shaped my practice at work.
It is hard work and I wouldn't be the first one to say it in our postgrad group. It is a very hard eight to ten months, but it is a hundred percent worth it because the knowledge and clinical skills that you gain from it, just over a short period of time, have put you on the right career path. It’s allowed me to be a better nurse.
The reason I specialised in emergency nursing is to provide care to people at their initial time of crisis and be able to use my problem-solving skills and put the puzzle together – try to work out what's going on with other specialties in the medical team.
Key qualities that you need as a nurse are patience and also really good organisational skills – and the ability to cope under pressure. I think it's important to not get caught up in the fact that there might be so much going on that you don't know what's going to happen next. You just need to keep ticking off the boxes and know that you'll get everything done in the end. Sometimes it can be really busy, and you'll have all these things happen that you're not expecting. You just need to be able to be adaptable and work with what's happening and try not to break under pressure – you talk to others and get help when you need and go from there.
I use the knowledge and clinical skills that I've learned in the course to be able to provide better care for my patients. Now I have the opportunity to be able to work with more complex patient situations and people that are more unwell than what I originally was able to manage by myself. I am now able to work in the resource and trauma areas, and specialise in those places within the emergency department, which is something I really enjoy and where I see my career progressing.