As a very young girl, Chianne Cole watched a nurse tend to her sister’s wounds and the experience ignited her passion for a profession that is currently, deservedly, in the global spotlight. Recently starting a graduate program with Amana Living, Chianne, (B Nursing 2018), has found her niche and is now working tirelessly to keep residents of aged care homes safe and sound.
Did you always see yourself going into nursing?
Yes, from a young age I knew I wanted to help people and developed an interest in medical knowledge. I think the deciding factor was when my sister was involved in a car accident. I was a young girl at the time, my sister's injuries required in-depth nursing care in order to recover and I got to see the nurses in action which sparked a big interest in the profession. I remember the nurses coming out to our home to provide care to my sister’s wounds when she was discharged from the hospital, and every visit I would be sat next to the nurse to watch. Some of them even allowed me to participate by asking me to hold materials, or assist in the dressing changes.
How was the experience of doing your nursing degree at Murdoch?
I thoroughly enjoyed my studies at Murdoch. I attended the Mandurah campus where only nursing students studied, so it was very much a small community of nursing students with common goals and interests.
Do you feel skills learnt stand you in good stead to build a career in the health industry?
Yes, the education I received during my time at Murdoch was current and the technology and resources available were modern. The training staff were also highly knowledgeable and had extensive experience in critical positions within the nursing industry prior to becoming lecturers and tutors. I still remember many stories told to us which still serve as valuable lessons.
What drew you to working in aged care sector?
Initially, I was studying a Postgraduate Certificate in Children and Young People’s Nursing. After my first semester of these studies, I found myself in a complicated position as a single mother to my three children. I needed to take on additional work which is where I was lucky enough to gain employment through an aged care agency. It was here I found a passion for working with the elderly. Being invited into resident’s homes and having the opportunity to care for them has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my nursing career. When I read about the graduate program opportunity at Amana Living I was excited to delve deeper and gain further experience in aged care nursing.
What are you looking forward to regarding the Amana Living Graduate Program?
One of the most exciting and beneficial components of the graduate program is that we are placed in various different sites to gain experience in all aspects of nursing. Rotations include transitional care, home care, corporate, and dementia-specific. I am really looking forward to gaining a diverse knowledge and experience within all of the many different areas of aged care nursing. I feel this program will undoubtedly establish a strong foundation for my nursing career and can’t wait to see where this program takes me. The current experience and learnings are invaluable.
What have been some of the big changes in your line of work given the COVID-19 threat?
There have been many changes as a result of the pandemic. This includes lockdown of the facilities, where no visitors or volunteers have been allowed to enter and temperature scanning occurring at the front door of facilities. There have also been changes to the way we use PPE in an attempt to conserve resources and additional training for the prevention and management of a COVID-19 outbreak. In regards to the graduate program, our monthly training days were converted over to ZOOM sessions where possible.
I presume you continued working while many people self-isolated? If so, what has it been like?
Yes. I am fortunate enough to have been able to carry on working shifts as normal throughout the duration of this pandemic. The biggest impact of continuing to work was more related to the need to send my children to school and child care. This was difficult of course, with the potential exposure risk and the fluctuations in the operations of day care centres and schools. At times it felt like I was in a movie, especially in the beginning. Every room I entered at work was playing either a news outbreak, or a radio discussion about the latest updates and government restrictions. There was one day I had to drive to The Wheatbelt border after work, to meet my sister where we exchanged groceries. Due to the times I work, I was never able to make it to a shopping centre in time to purchase products before they were sold out. The first few months of the pandemic were very busy with managing an ever-changing work environment, whilst trying to maintain living within the new restrictions and grocery shortages. There was also much concern and panic among staff as well as the residents. So my days also involved a lot of reassurance and discussions surrounding information available to us concerning how we could ensure the facilities remained safe during this time.