Monday 10 September 2018

My First Week As a Nurse in Australia - Monday

First days at a new job are always daunting and somewhat anxiety-inducing, but coupled with a period of three months away from nursing entirely, I found myself worrying about whether I’d actually still know how to be a nurse and whether I’d be able to settle back into a ward environment easily enough. I got myself off to a bad start when I got on the bus to find that I’d forgotten my bus pass and had no cash, but thankfully the bus driver let me on regardless!

I met my new unit manager at 08:00 to go through the basics, and being in a forensic unit this involved setting up security access including fingerprints and iris recognition. I was shown around the ward and introduced to the staff on shift, and was very pleased to find that a few of the staff were from the UK and had only been there for a few months, so were also fairly new to the process of switching from UK to Aus nursing. This proved very helpful when I came up against countless acronyms and nursing terms that were specific to Australia, as they had had the same confusions and were able to explain the equivalents to me. It’s bad enough learning the acronyms and jargon from your own training, but to then be faced with a whole new set of terms makes it a lot more tricky.

I was very surprised to find that the shift is always purely made up of qualified nurses, but there are RPN2s and RPN3s, as well as Enrolled Nurses and Graduate Nurses - very confusing! From what I’ve gathered, an RPN2 is an equivalent of a band 5, and RPN3 a band 6. Only RPN3s can coordinate a shift, unlike in the UK when anyone can get thrown in at the deep end and you can find yourself in charge of the ward from the first week if you’re unlucky! Enrolled nurses are those that have done a diploma as opposed to a degree, and there are a few things that they cannot do until they are fully registered. 

I spent much of the day going through the electronic notes system and making a start on my mandatory training; being told you get a significant extra payment on your wage at the end of the year when your training is up-to-date certainly inspired me to get it all done! As much as eLearning is a bore, it’s actually been incredibly helpful for teaching me the basics.

All mental health nurses on the ward are expected to complete a postgraduate programme in forensic nursing, which is estimated to take around six months. This starts straight away and involves completing various modules through supported sessions at work and some self-learning each week. It’ll be great to pick up an extra qualification which will enable to be a ‘forensic nurse’, something I wasn’t able to do back in the UK. 

I finished my shift at 16:30, and having forgotten cash and my bus pass decided to make the most of the nice weather and walk home, 1 hour 45 mins in total. I enjoyed the walk but I certainly won’t be doing that every day! I did however buy a second-hand bike after work, which needs a little bit of tidying up but will be ready to cycle to work next week. All in all I’m pleased to say that it was a fairly pleasant first day. 


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