33 new nurse and midwifery graduates joining South West HHS

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A total of 33 new nursing and midwifery graduates start their careers with the South West Hospital and
Health Service this week (20 February).

South West HHS Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services Chris Small said the February intake was a new record and was reflective of the ongoing strong interest among graduates in joining the health service.

“We hope to accept a further smaller intake August,’’ he said.

“It’s wonderful to be welcoming these new graduates to the region and I’m sure that they will enjoy rewarding careers.’’

All the new graduates undergo a week’s orientation at Roma Hospital before being assigned to health facilities throughout the region.

“They will then work in a variety of areas, including acute medical, surgical, emergency, maternity, aged care, community and primary health and supporting the hospital-based ambulance in the facilities where these are located,’’ Mr Small said.

“The size of this year’s intake indicates just how our attractive the health service is being viewed by new graduates as an area in which to pursue their careers.

“This year, our 12-month graduate program has been reviewed and will align with the endorsed graduate certificate level by Central Queensland University for the graduates’ future career pathway.’’

Charleville born and raised Brea Frousheger is one of this year’s new South West nurse graduates.

Brea, who did her degree at James Cook University in Townsville said a nursing career was her dream come true.

“Since I was a little girl and had my appendix removed, I have always been eager to pursue a career in nursing, caring for people that are unable to care for themselves when at their most vulnerable,’’ she said.

And she was always determined to pursue her career in a country area.

“Born and raised in Charleville, I have developed a strong attachment to the country lifestyle and healthcare systems,’’ she said.

“Rural towns are unique, as you know many people’s history, their families, their sorrows, and joys, as many individuals are neighbours, family, or family-friends of people whom you know.

“Having a rural background, I thrive and thoroughly enjoy establishing a connection with community members.

“Nursing in a rural hospital will give me the opportunity to ‘give back’ in a positive way to a community in which I will be very comfortable.

“I also enjoy the rural lifestyle simply due to its beauty and simplicity, which at times is difficult to explain to people who haven’t yet experienced the lifestyle.’’

Following her week’s orientation at Roma Hospital, Brea will begin her new career at St George Hospital.

Mr Small said the new February graduates also included five midwives and two dual-degree nursing and paramedicine graduates.

One of the two dual-degree graduates will do six months at Quilpie Multipurpose Health Service and then six months with the Queensland Ambulance Service, the second will do 12 months at Augathella
Multipurpose Health Service and then six months with QAS.

Mr Small said dual-trained nursing and paramedicine graduates undertook the same 12-month graduate transition program as all the other newly graduated nursing and midwifery staff.

The difference for them was that their program was split between the health service and the Queensland Ambulance Service, spending six months with each organisation, he said.

“In many of our smaller, more isolated communities, the local ambulance services are operated out of the local health facility by hospital and health service employees,’’ he said.

“Our nurses staff these hospital-based ambulances, supported by a volunteer driver program coordinated by the QAS.

“As our nurses are first responders to an incident in these situations, it actually makes very good sense for them to have both nursing and paramedical skills.

“It’s also an attractive career option as it allows the successful graduate to choose a career either in nursing or paramedicine, and to swap over more easily later in their careers if they want a change.

“It also improves the capacity of both the health service and the QAS to attract and retain staff as it gives staff more options for their future career progression.’’

Mr Small said the South West Hospital and Health Service had partnered formally with QAS in 2018 to introduce the dual-trained registered nurse/paramedic program – the first in Queensland – following an initial earlier trial.

Since then, the dual degree program has proved very popular with graduates.
Mr Small said the South West HHS was committed to providing training opportunities for graduate nurses and midwives.

“There’s no denying how important nurses are in our community and to our health service,’’ Mr Small said.

“Nurses make up almost 50 per cent of our health service workforce; they provide care at almost every stage of our lives across our GP clinics, our hospitals and in the community.

“I wish each and every one of the nurses starting over the next few weeks the best of luck as they embark on this next stage of their careers.”