Why I love being an agency ICU nurse


A young nurse from England reflects on her journey to ICU agency nursing in Sydney. Here’s Katherine Rimmer’s story.

Love. The only word that describes why I’m a nurse.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I really wonder why I chose to be a nurse, but those days are few and far between. But ‘love’ encompasses the good and the bad.

Katherine RimmerI qualified in 2010, training in Manchester in the UK. I had never been the “academic child”, but I flew through my degree because of my passion. Ha ha, okay, well, staggered at times. Not a passion to climb the ladder and be a sister or a matron or manager, just to be a nurse. I enjoy the basics of nursing, showering the elderly lady who hadn’t managed to wash herself for weeks at home and didn’t want to bother anyone for help, or the man who hadn’t had a “proper” shave because he’d been on a ventilator for two weeks.

I enjoy finding out about people and I love to talk. I like to make people feel better, even simple tasks can change one person’s whole experience.

I am an ICU/HDU nurse. I look after patients with single or multi-organ failure, usually. I enjoy the complexities of the care you can deliver in the critical care setting and I have learnt and am still learning so much about the body and disease processes. I learn so much about life and how precious it is. Take every day as it comes and learn to love, learn to forgive, because if nursing has shown me anything it’s that time is of the essence and at any moment life can take this away. You have to want to learn as a nurse.

My nursing agency Alliance Health have been phenomenal, right from the start when I went to London St Pancreas for my preliminary interview, to now more than 12 months on in Australia.

Being an agency nurse like any job has its ups and downs, my main fear has always been being the ‘newbie’, but everyone always makes you feel welcome, especially when you find a fellow Pommie who knows exactly what you’re going through when you’re walking round with a full urine bottle and you find every room but the dirty room!

coastwalkI made the move to Australia In January 2016. I love Sydney, it’s beautiful, it’s the pace of life, it’s the values the city has, work hard party harder, not in the actual party sense (the lockout laws killed that!) It’s the outdoor life for me, I love to walk and hike and there are endless amounts of coastal walks and bushwalks. All of which I keep adding to the ‘take Mum and Dad to’ list.

I am looking to make a life out here in Australia and hopefully staying with agency nursing (if they’ll keep me). I like the flexibility and the variety. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

I will always recommend nursing as a career – you’ll laugh and cry and no day will ever be the same. You’ll have the best stories – my friends love to hear stories!

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