June 30, 2021

A tale of two sisters at Northern Health

On orientation day last month, 56 new graduate nurses and midwives began their Northern Health journey.

The orientation consisted of a two day program, containing a mixture of theory and practice, covering important aspects such as occupational health and safety and wellbeing, infection prevention, safe patient handling, recognising the deteriorating patient, medication safety and basic life support. Time is also allocated to commence many of the mandatory competencies such as Fire and Emergency Training, Respecting One Another and Hand Hygiene.

Among the group who took part in the orientation are sisters Jessica and Laura Scuteri, who finished their studies together at Victoria University, and are both Registered Nurses at Northern Health.

Laura said she enjoyed the experience of meeting people during the orientation who were just as nervous and anxious as she was about starting a new career.

“I liked how Northern Health staff were approachable and willing to answer any questions no matter the topic,” she said.

“From when I was young, I was always interested in the body and how it works. I liked the idea of helping people and helping them at their worst by being able to make patients’ days a bit brighter, and to be able to make their hospital stay a bit better. In 2016, my sister got very ill and was rushed to Northern Hospital. I loved the care that they had given and that was another reason that motivated me to be a nurse.”

For Jessica, she always wanted to pursue a career in teaching or nursing. When she graduated from high school, she began a teaching degree but then became ill with Meningococcal Septicaemia.

“Even though it was a tough road to recovery, it was a blessing in disguise. Every nurse that helped keep me alive until this day were all Northern Health employees. They all helped influence me to become a nurse at Northern Health,” Jessica said.

“I’ve always been a helpful person. I enjoyed meeting new people at the orientation that were in the same boat as us. The practical component (simulations) during the orientation days were fun and very informative too.”

Kate Duggan, Graduate Program Coordinator, said the COVID-19 pandemic affected the ability to recruit nurses into the program.

“We moved all information sessions very rapidly to an online platform. This made it challenging for us to interact one-on-one with students and, I’m sure, made it challenging for students to get a feel for the health service that they should apply to for their Graduate Program,” Kate said.

“Whilst Northern Health successfully filled all vacancies, we know that it was a daunting time for those applying for jobs during the pandemic. There were many disruptions to undergraduate clinical placements in 2020 and students could not attend lectures or tutorials in person for many months. We have acknowledged the effects this had on graduate confidence and we have offered additional support in the transition to the workplace.”

Featured image: Jessica and Laura Scuteri