Many new graduates will be taking up positions all across NSW soon and we wanted to reflect on one experience that took a nurse to a regional hospital.
Ignat Kozlov told the Lamp last February how a two-week placement in the mental health unit at Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital changed his perspective entirely. This led to him successfully applying for a position in Wagga Wagga once he completed his training.
“Moving to a rural community is usually a very rewarding experience, both professionally and personally. Also, just being in a new place is a lot of fun”
“Almost all my placements were in the city, but at the beginning of 2014 I did a two-week placement in the mental health unit at Wagga Wagga,” Ignat said.
The placement exposed him to a wide range of medicine: “As a big hospital in a regional area we get referrals from all of the small hospitals in the region”.
“The biggest difference I noticed at Wagga Wagga [compared to city placements] was less with the actual work than being exposed to a wide range of situations.”
“I’m mainly working with heart and lungs in general ward nursing. But we get all kinds of patients admitted to the hospital so there’s a big variety.”
One of the things that has impressed Ignat about being at Wagga Wagga is the program for new RNs.
“I found it to be a really good new graduate program. After your first year they have a development program in your second year. It’s an extension of the new graduate program where you spend a year in a particular area.”
The hospital provided Ignat with an opportunity to work in an angiography suite, as well as opportunities to work in theatre and airway management.
“There’s an advantage to being able to specialise, but also having the opportunity to see a lot of things.”
There are other benefits to a rural placement, he added: “I like the lifestyle. It’s five minutes to walk to work. I’ve made a lot of new friends and I’ve seen parts of NSW I would never have seen. It’s cheaper to live here, and the pay is the same for nurses as it is in the city.”
Students who do placements at Wagga Wagga can stay in the old nurses’ quarters, which offers affordable accommodation.
“I think everyone should try and do a placement out in the country, and when you’re looking for work, consider moving out of Sydney.”
Ignat wasn’t planning on a nursing career in a regional hospital, but being exposed to some of the advantages of rural nursing during his placement evidently made a big difference.
Have you had a similar experience? We’d like to know about your new grad experiences and if placement during study changed your mind.