Kate - A Student Nurse Perspective

Kate - A Student Nurse Perspective

Today we are talking to the lovely Kate from Perth who is a third year nursing student. Thank you for talking with me today Kate! Can we start with what made you decide to go into nursing?

I have been told for years that I would make a great nurse and shrugged it off.. then did a commerce degree got a job at the end of it that I enjoyed, but found I hated being in an office. Several trips to A+E with my aging parents made me realize that I really enjoyed the buzz of the department and the thought of helping people.. then I connected the dots and submitted my application . The rest as they say is history.

Oh wow that is a big change. I used to work an office job and never realised how much I hate being in an office until I became a nurse. I cannot sit still for the life of me haha! So what is your role at the moment?

I am still studying I graduate in December and have just received my offer for my grad program. I currently work as a carer in residential aged care.

Congratulations on getting a grad program! How have you found being a student? What have been your favourite placements?

Thank you! This degree is 10 times harder than my previous one.. I have loved each placement for different reasons.. but having done placements in both public & private sector I’m keen to work in the public system.. I don’t like how lean private works.

In what ways are you finding this degree harder? Do you think covid has contributed to that?

Learning the whole human body for starters! Once we got into pathophysiology it started to make more sense, then pharmacology then mechanisms of action.. it’s a lot to take in..

Any study tips for the student nurses out there?

It sounds corny but P’s get degrees. So far no one has asked what my GPA is or wanted to see my transcript. Ask for help if you need it, don’t suffer in silence.

How has covid affected your study do you think?

We had a few semesters where we had limited lab time, which meant we learned the concepts but not able to practice. But we’re able to do this on placement later on.. I have a shortfall of placement hours, so should only have a 2 week in this final block, but have 6 weeks instead. Which will be full on, but doable. We went from a hands on course to remote learning. You can’t really learn a hands on skill remotely. But I’m in WA so we haven’t been too badly impacted by lockdowns..

So it shouldn't affect your graduation date? That is fortunate! Based on your placements so far do you think your experience as an aged care worker has helped you in your nursing degree?

Absolutely, although I didn’t start in aged care until after I started my degree. My first placement offered me a job.. it’s made me a lot more comfortable with ADL’s etc. plus I’m med competent so I get to practice my 6 rights more often, than just on placement. Great for wound assessments etc. I think it might have helped my grad application too..

Wow you must have made a good impression! That's wonderful 🙂 Can I ask you more about being med competent in aged care as it does interest me. What kind of education did you need to do for that?

I did a days course on medication safety. So 6 rights etc. but no pharmacology.. it’s interesting because some of the carers are not nursing students and are med comp, so I wonder if they ever think to question medications like I do. There are a lot of errors, residents being left to take their medication etc.. dropped medication, not signed for etc.. but more facilities are moving to med comp as it’s cheaper than EN’s or RN’s..

And are you responsible for dispensing each medication or is it like a webster pack type situation?

Webster, but I like to check each one. Make sure BP is within range to give anti hypertensives etc.. some give paracetamol early when last dose given late etc..

I am glad to hear that you are being safe in your practice and hopefully this will set you up well for your career. Do you know which area you will be working in for your grad year?

No not yet.. my final placements are ICU and trauma rehab.

Oh that sounds exciting! Do you have any idea where you might like to work?

I would like to work in crit care either icu or ED, but think I need to learn how to nurse first and specialise after.

What do you think draws you to these areas?

No day is the same and it’s not routine. I won’t have the chance to get comfortable 🤣🤣

Have you done a placement in a critical care area before?


What has been your best experience on a placement so far?

I’m not sure, I loved my mental health placement and my med/surg in cardio thoracics!

Do you have any advice for students out there to get the most out of their placements? And making a good impression?

You get what you put in. You need to make a learning opportunity out of everything. I always act as if where I am placed could be a potential employer and my placement is an opportunity to check it out.. that also includes finding out from staff why they work there and what made them chose this facility.. it works both ways, you need to find out if you would enjoy it there. As for my placement in aged care, it did end up becoming my employer. But also a student may say well I don’t intend to work in aged care so I don’t need to try.. 75% of the healthcare setting is made up of the older population. Unless you end up in Paeds or Maternity!

That is very true! Doesn't matter what you want to do in your career or where you have your placements there is always something useful to learn! Is there anything else you would like to share with the Nurse Life community?

We keep getting told at uni that nurses like to eat their young.. I haven’t experienced it, but that may be because I’m a mature aged student.. but I think it’s time we as an industry became more embracing of new nurses.. make it a thing of the past rather than something we need to warn new graduates about. We were all there once 👍🏻.

Absolutely. I really hope that if we keep talking about it and trying to make a change then it will become the norm for new nurses coming through and eventually becomes a culture. Thank you so much for sharing with me 🙂

If you would like to be interviewed or write a guest post for the Nurse Life blog please get in contact at nurselifeaus@gmail.com

Stay safe brothers and sisters!



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