Written by Stacey Rondan, UTS Bachelor of Nursing Bachelor of Arts in International Studies student
From the beginning of my nursing degree, I was curious about embarking on a rural and remote placement. I was excited by the thought of a challenge where I would immerse myself into a totally new and different environment from that of Sydney.
In the cold, crisp June weather, I ventured six hours south from Sydney to commence a four-week placement at the South East Regional Hospital, formerly known as Bega Hospital. I had never travelled beyond Canberra and driving solo down the Sapphire Coast whilst soaking up the beauty of country NSW was beyond incredible and truly unforgettable. I have definitely learnt a lot about country driving, particularly as I commuted from Eden to the hospital every day!
I was placed in a General Medical Ward and from the get-go, I was immediately taken aback by the kindness and willingness of the nursing and medical staff to teach myself and another student from UTS.
As with every clinical placement, the biggest challenge in the first week is becoming accustomed to the routine of the ward and finding your way around generally. On this ward however, I found that I was always greeted with a smile and challenged to further my knowledge and skills. I was fortunate to have multiple preceptors who had a keen and genuine interest in my learning.
Under this guidance, I had the privilege of caring for patients who were palliated, dressed wounds, attended medical emergencies and undertook many other nursing duties. I was also encouraged to undertake a patient load of four, which really helped solidify what I have been learning the past few years. As daunting as the initial experience was, it was certainly a fantastic opportunity.
In my downtime, I was able to explore Bega, Tathra and Eden. One particular day, whilst enjoying a picnic on the cliff edge in Tathra, we saw in the distance, whales splashing and jumping in the water! It was such a surreal sight.
I believe that taking this experience was very enriching and so beneficial to my nursing practice and to myself as a person. When the next opportunity comes I say, take the leap, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure!