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Interview with NNA Registered Nurse - Karen

Posted 9 months ago


Hear from one of NNA's Registered Nurses (RN), Karen who we recently interviewed. In this interview, Karen gives us insight into her career as an RN and what it is like to work as an Agency Nurse with Network Nursing Agency (NNA).

​Why did you first get into Nursing?

That’s a very long story that I don’t wish to bore anyone with today. Let me say this, I tried many different jobs prior to nursing.

Relating to nursing, I sought weekend work with a friend who was an assistant nurse. This led to working as an assistant nurse and then to leading the team. The Director of Nursing sat with me and put admission paperwork down, said you are wasted here, wrote a letter of recommendation and this was all sent to UAC. I actually didn’t think they would accept me as I went in as a mature aged student. Next thing I knew I was accepted, and then found myself completing my Bachelor of Nursing Degree.

I often say, nursing found me; I didn’t go looking for it. Though, I believe it to be one of the best things I chose to do, which resulted in a long-term positive career move.

What do you love most about the job/working with NNA?

Overall, I think the respect I have received since joining NNA. The personalization, meaning the managers know my history, strengths and ability. I am not just a phone number, or continually harassed with text and phone calls. When I do call or email NNA, I receive respectful communication. I believe this has led me to maintaining a consistent relationship with NNA since mid 2016.

What is your nursing specialty and what facilities/locations do you usually work at?

I have worked most clinical areas during my 20 plus years and consider myself an all rounder Registered Nurse. However my main focus area would be airways, in particular, theatre, anaesthetic and recovery.

I joined NNA after meeting another member of the facilitation team during a shift. I made contact with NNA roughly six months later and have facilitated nursing students since mid 2016. I have now attained over 40 clinical placements. NNA enable me to facilitate university nursing students at many different locations.

Overall, joining NNA has been an extremely positive personal and professional experience. Interestingly, the facilitation role has encouraged me to further my studies, with recently completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Advanced Nursing. I am currently using this short period to consider continuing towards my Masters in Advanced Nursing, with three more units ahead.

Do you enjoy the flexibility of picking and choosing shifts to suit your family and/or lifestyle?

Yes, I enjoy the flexibility & lifestyle. Though, the large gaps in between placements can be unstable financially at times.

Can you tell us about some of the other benefits of agency work opposed to a fixed term position in a hospital?

I have joined different agencies over my nursing career, so I am used to the lifestyle. What I enjoy the most is not getting involved with office politics. I enjoy the variety and the refreshing change of environments, with the facilities and its members. The benefits entail meeting new students and in the creating of professional relationships. Lastly, the weekly pay is a huge advantage.

What is a typical day like for you?

In actual fact, I don’t essentially have typical days, hence why I love this role.

Typically though, I thrive on mixing my days up, and modify each day to suit the many changes I endure during each clinical placement. In this role, you need flexibility and the ability to think outside the box to accommodate the constant changes. My one consistent trait is the aim to positively impact one person a day. I deliver this through strong communication skills and by having the experience of troubleshooting issues promptly.

What are the main challenges you face as a nurse?

I never wanted to be one of those nurses who said it was better when we did it this way, but at times I admit I think it. I have strong views on nursing and how to improve the current status. In my opinion, I believe that to have a strong nursing industry, there are three major things that need to occur. These can guarantee a financial establishment, content nurses and overall safe patient care.

New Graduate Registered Nurses need to have an establishment that contributes emotionally, financially and effectively towards their education during the transition program, especially in the initial four weeks. This would entail more support than what they are being given and currently sadly accepting during this phase. I believe the support given to new nurses is currently inadequate and it is impacting on them emotionally, affecting retention and long-term career satisfaction.

Reeducating new staff costs money, so if an establishment can retain and retrain staff with experienced mentors over longer periods, the benefits would be incredible for the facility, the nurses and patient care.

I believe that many different actions have been put in place over the years to solve the issues that remain, but I truly believe support is the answer. This support would therefore increase staff retention, enabling money to be spent increasing education and fast tracking new nurses. I have completed a small study on this topic & hope to research it more in 2021.

What do you love most about nursing?

I think the best thing about nursing is the impact you make on others. You may not remember them, but they remember you, long after you have moved onto your next patient, or in this case, role. In my opinion, no amount of money could ever provide the joy that I have given to many patients throughout my career, in their darkest hour. In my current role, I choose to leave a piece of me in the new nurses commencing their career. I feel this is what sets me aside from other nurses. The students know I care about their future and with the experience of knowing how I have impacted many patients and that they continue to do the same. It is life changing for so many people.

What advice would you give to other agency nurses?

I think working for an agency has its positives & negatives. Once you say yes to a job, then you should follow through with it, as this proves you to be a reliable source. When you are working, always give your best self, as the patients need someone who cares to be kind to them. If you don’t enjoy that facility, then it’s best to let the agency know once you have left the facility, maybe request to not be sent there again. Be professional, as you are representing the agency, the nursing industry, but most of all, yourself.

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