June 25, 2020

Career STEPs at Northern Health

Last year we welcomed graduate nurse, Lauren Parkinson, to Northern Health. Since then, she has been exposed to many opportunities that have helped her transition into a registered nurse. We caught up with her to find out what she loved most about her graduate year and her next career STEPs.

Nursing is something Lauren has always wanted to do from a young age. After being accepted into the graduate nursing program at Northern Health, she was placed on a rotation in the emergency department (ED) and on Ward 4.

Lauren says one of the highlights of her graduate year was working in ED – where we treat more patients than any other emergency department in the state.

“The clinical support team here in ED were awesome – I learnt so much from them,” she said.

“My rotation on the ward was really good as well because I could consolidate things I learnt as an undergraduate student. One of the other highlights was going back to the ward after being in ED as I felt a lot more confident,” she added.

Lauren tells us the clinical support teams made a significant impact on her experience.

“The clinical staff and education teams have influenced my career pathway in a huge way. Especially the emergency clinical staff – they are so supportive and I go to them with questions all the time and they always point me in the right direction and are very encouraging,” she said.

Lauren already aspires to complete her postgraduate qualification next year at Northern Health. In preparation for her further studies, she applied for the Emergency Supported Transition to Excellence in Practice (STEP) program.

“Since my grad year, I came back to emergency and started my STEP program in January, which is a six month program, so I’m about to finish that which I’ve loved,” she said.

“Next year, I plan on completing my postgraduate in emergency services. Hopefully I can even start it at the end of this month by doing a subject early once I finish my STEP program,” she added.

The Emergency STEP program prepares staff for advanced practice in the emergency specialty and is an introduction to a career pathway into postgraduate studies in this field.

It enhances basic competence practice in complex patient assessment, management and holistic health care for emergency patients. Staff undertaking the program benefit from face to face study days, simulations, case study reflection and bedside teaching and assessment.

“The STEP program has been a really good taster as to what you can expect in the postgraduate program, and introduces you to all of the concepts you are going to have to consider. It gives you a bit of a head start and makes you start thinking about things,” Lauren said.

Lauren says the education team were very helpful and supportive during her STEP program, especially as the program was completed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You also take on a bit of a leadership role with the STEP program – especially when you have new staff come in. Now I have graduates and students so it’s quite a big adjustment but I really enjoy it.”

Lauren doesn’t see herself moving on from Northern Health anytime soon and she encourages aspiring nurses to consider applying for a graduate program here for the family-like environment and opportunities for career development and further studies.

“After I finish my postgrad, I will continue working in ED. I love it here and want to stay. Maybe down the track, I would consider doing a trauma course or maybe some rural nursing but I love the team here and love the education so I can’t see myself leaving!” she said.

“I would also definitely encourage people to do a STEP program if you have the opportunity and if you get a chance to rotate through ED, do it! When you’ve got people supporting you, it’s a lot better. I think because we work together all the time, it’s a bit like a second family here so it’s really nice.”

To find out how Northern Health can support your career in nursing and midwifery, please click here.