Twelve new nursing graduates start work with Central West Hospital and Health Service this week (6 February).
Central West Health Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services Danielle Causer said this was just four fewer than last year’s record February intake of 16.
A further 12 graduates are expected to be taken on in mid-year bringing the year’s total to 24.
Ms Causer said this year’s overall annual intake of 24 would become the second largest annual intake of nursing graduates after last year’s (2022) record 36-nurse intake.
The previous second largest annual intake of nurses and midwives was a total of 22 in 2018 – with 13 being taken on in February of that year, followed by a further nine in mid–year.
Ms Causer said the 12 new graduates would be allocated three each to the Longreach and Blackall hospitals and Barcaldine and Winton multipurpose health services.
“Graduates will work in the clinical areas of acute medical, surgical, emergency,’’ she said.
“After six months at their initial location, they will then have the opportunity to work in another facility for six months. Longreach will rotate with Winton and Blackall will rotate with Barcaldine.
“They will be able to learn on the job and translate the skills they’ve learnt at university into better outcomes for patients across our region.’’
Ms Causer said Central West Health was being regarded as an increasingly attractive area for new nurses and midwives to launch their careers.
“We are very excited to welcome our new graduates as they began their careers,’’ she said.
“As a health service, we are committed to providing training opportunities for graduate nurses, as well as midwives. They are an important part of our team, and we value the contribution they will make.’’
New nurse graduate Zoe Bridgeman was prompted to apply for a nursing position in the Central West after completing a placement at Blackall Hospital last year (2022) as part of her final year with James Cook University at Townsville.
“I’m passionate about rural nursing and when I did my placement at Blackall it really showed me the opportunities available in the Central West,’’ she said.
Ms Bridgeman said she had chosen nursing for a career because of the opportunities and variety of work it offered.
“You can go anywhere and use your nursing skills and there’s also such a variety of streams you can choose to do within nursing.’’
Ms Bridgeman will do her first six-month placement at Blackall Hospital before then rotating to Barcaldine Multipurpose Health Service for the next six months.
New nurse graduate Pulepule Takataka completed his degree with the Australian Catholic University in Brisbane.
He will do his first six-month placement at Winton Multipurpose Health Service before rotating to Longreach Hospital for six months.
“I first came out to the Central West during 2021 to help with the COVID-19 vaccination program,’’ he said.
“As part of the vaccination program, I visited many of the smaller communities like Muttaburra, Alpha, and Aramac.
“I quickly fell in love with the community and the culture. Everyone was so very friendly and close-knit.
“So, I came back last year (2022) to do a placement at Longreach Hospital and that’s when I decided I definitely wanted to come out here.’’
Mr Takataka said he had always been interested in biology and had liked helping people during high school.
“I chose nursing as a career because it helped me combine both of those,’’ he said.
Ms Causer said the 12-month graduate transition program for new nurses and midwives involved theoretical and practical assessments.
“Graduate nurses and midwives are provided support and mentorship by experienced staff to help make the transition from studying at university to life in the workforce,’’ she said.
“They have chosen a rewarding and fulfilling profession that provides many pathways for career development and is a fabulous way of serving the community in which we live.
“We hope their first year of practice in the Central West will open their eyes to the opportunities and diverse range of professional experiences available in our region and opt to continue their career with us in the future.’’