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Interview with NNA Registered Nurse - Orlaith: A Nurse who loves making a positive impact on someone’s day

Posted 8 months ago

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​We recently interviewed NNA Registered Nurse, Orlaith who speaks about her time as an Agency Nurse here in Sydney. Having moved from Ireland, Orlaith loves the flexibility of working as a Nurse and having the ability to travel (interstate recently) and see Australia. Read more below.

Why did you first get into Nursing?

From an early age, I always found myself in a caring role. I looked after both young and elderly family members as well as babysitting for neighbours and friends. I enjoy the patient contact and the sense of satisfaction when you’ve had a positive impact on someone’s day.

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

Having come from a permanent full time position in Ireland, I initially thought I would find agency nursing very difficult. Given the support and regular work in similar areas NNA gave me, I quickly became comfortable and more confident in agency nursing. Both the variety of work and flexibility with rostering gives you the opportunity to sample an array of different clinical settings/specialties as well as enjoying the Culture and lifestyle Sydney has to offer.

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

My Irish nursing background is elective medical and surgical nursing. I worked on a ward where we cared for patients with respiratory, neurological and endocrine issues as well as assisting with intervention radiology procedures, bronchoscopies and an infusion unit for those needing regular immunoglobulins and the like. It was one of my most pleasant and valuable nursing experiences as it gave me experience in a wide range of skills.

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

Having come to Australia to travel and broaden my Horizons the flexibility of agency nursing suits me very much. It allows for me to plan numerous trips (now interstate) or events while ensuring I have the finances to do so.

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

The variety of work has really helped in deciphering what areas of nursing I like/dislike. Wanting to specialise in some area of nursing at some point in my career, agency nursing has given me the opportunity to taste a number of different specialities that I may never have tasted being in a fixed term position.

What is a typical day like for you?

I try to keep my availability the same as much as possible in order to keep as much routine in my personal life. I try to stick to Morning or 12 hour shifts as much as possible. My usual day consists of a morning 7am -2.30pm or 12 hr 7am-19:30 in one of private hospitals around Sydney such as the Mater or NSP.

What are the main challenges you face as a nurse?

  • The varying personalities you come across on a daily basis.

  • Non English speaking patients

  • Un-cooperative staff

  • The chance of cancellation or swapping of shifts as agency if and when needed.

  • Having to prove your capabilities in new facilities in order to gain trust and appreciation from regular permanent staff

What advice would you give to other agency nurses?

Keep your availability the same as much as possible in order to maintain some routine in your daily personal life- plan your week ahead of time and ensure you have a balance between your professional and personal commitments.

Try any facility once- if you aren’t happy or comfortable in it voice your concerns with the manager as well as the staff in NNA.

Enjoy the freedom of leaving your work behind you and not having to engage in facility politics 😉

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