Graduate nurses on regional placements at Rochester and Elmore District Health Service benefit from a different range of nursing opportunities, Department of Health’s nursing and midwifery policy branch manager Merrin Bamert says.By Elaine Cooney
Graduate nurses met Department of Health’s nursing and midwifery policy branch manager Merrin Bamert at Rochester and Elmore District Health Service on Tuesday to discuss their regional placements.
The graduates spend six months at Echuca Regional Health and six months in at smaller hospitals in Rochester, Cohuna and Boort.
Tuesday was the students’ halfway mark, where they swapped between ERH and the smaller health services.
Ms Bamert said the Northern Rivers Graduate Nurse program helped smaller rural health services recruit graduate nurses and also gave first-year graduates more options when it came to specialising in certain areas.
‘‘Graduates often worry about their first year and think they have to work in a metro hospital,’’ she said.
She said the rural nursing experiences gave graduates a chance to see a much broader range of nursing opportunities.
Ms Bamert said compared to city placements, rural hospitals such as REDHS offered nurses a chance to see many different medical conditions in one six-month placement.
‘‘They all said it was a supportive environment with a sense of community and they learned skills they would never have dreamed of,’’ she said.
She saw the graduate nurses six months ago when they were ‘‘nervous and anxious’’ to a ‘‘confident, well-adjusted group of nurses’’.
Graduate nurse Jackie Steepper, who just finished her six-month placement in Echuca to began at REDHS, said the rural health service produced a comforting environment for her and she had enjoyed that ‘‘everyone knows everyone’’.
Fellow graduate nurse Courtney Marsden said while she would not consider nursing in regional Victoria in the near future, she would keep it in mind for later in her career.
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