Graduate Nurse: Lauren Parkinson
Can you tell us why you chose a career in nursing?
Nursing has always been something I wanted to do from a young age, and I set myself a plan on how to achieve this as soon as I got to high school. Unfortunately, I lost my mum to cancer when I was eight. During her battle, I watched multiple nurses go out of their way to give the best care possible to her and keep her dignity right until the end.
My family and I remember these nurses to this day, for the amazing person-centred care they gave my mum and our family. This unfortunate event in my life gave me the passion to be like those nurses. I wanted to bring dignity and respect to people at their most vulnerable time and advocate for patients and their families. I wanted to be able to assist people in small ways to make their day, or even to just be a smiling face when someone really needs it.
Nursing is such a selfless job – it has so many ways of making you feel good. I love the feeling of going home from a shift with the knowledge that I have helped someone, even in just a minor way, to feel better.
When looking for a graduate nurse program, how did you go about narrowing down your decision?
When looking through all the places that offered graduate programs, I felt so overwhelmed with choices. The two most important things for me when I was looking at different programs was the culture of the hospital and what learning opportunities they could offer.
I narrowed my choices down by my experience on placement at these different hospitals, as well as going to their information nights and asking questions about how they could support me, not only in my graduate year, but ongoing years.
How did you feel about the application process?
To begin with, the application process was very daunting and overwhelming. Once I sat down and looked at it all step by step, it became a lot less daunting and more exciting than anything. Attending the information sessions the hospitals held were really beneficial, as well as speaking to graduates from previous years.
Going through the interview process was another step that was nowhere near as daunting as it seemed. All hospitals were very welcoming and understanding of everyone’s nerves, and having so many other peers going through this process feeling the same way I did made it easier.
How did you feel when you found out your Computer Match results?
Getting my results was without a doubt one of the best and most terrifying feelings. Knowing all the hard work I had put into University, placements and my graduate application had paid off, made my only response tears. With a mixture of excitement and relief I was over the moon, as well as terrified that it was all becoming reality.
What advice would you have to students going through this process at the moment?
Start early! Be as prepared and organised as you can be and research the hospitals that you are applying for really well. Be confident in yourself and your own skills and don’t be afraid to show it – also, don’t put the pressure on yourself like I did! Even if you don’t get that graduate year you hoped for, there are so many other options out there and no matter where you start or which ward you start on, you’re going to learn so much – it might even change your mind on the path you want to take.
The last thing I would say would be to jump in the deep end – apply or aspire to something outside of your comfort zone. If there is going to be a time to try something new, but you don’t have the confidence in yourself or you are too scared to do so, your graduate year is the perfect opportunity to give it a go.
Finally, can you tell us how you are enjoying your graduate program at Northern Health?
I absolutely love my graduate program at Northern Health this year. I am so grateful for the opportunity. I was given six months to complete a rotation in the Emergency Department and on Unit B. The ongoing support from the clinical educators has been amazing.
I would’ve been lost without their assistance on the floor, their ongoing educational sessions and just being there as another ear to debrief to on good and bad days. The step from being an undergraduate student to being a registered nurse has probably been the biggest challenge.
From not having a ‘buddy nurse’ anymore, to you being the ‘buddy nurse’, takes some time to adjust to, but my nursing colleagues have been so supportive. The team at Northern Health has made this transition so easy.
Having the support from the graduate coordinators, Kate and Katia, the clinical support nurses, my colleagues and the other graduates this year, has made the whole process so enjoyable! I have learnt so much in my first six months and I’m already aspiring to complete postgraduate studies.
Most days I can’t believe what I’ve achieved and how lucky I am to be exactly where I want to be.
It makes me very thankful for this opportunity and I can’t wait to see where my nursing career at Northern health takes me.