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Meet two of our new graduate ICU nurses

A career in health is one of the most sought after for young Australians, according to a recent survey. 

A study by careers advice website Skillsroad found more than 20 per cent of 5000 respondents – aged 20 years or younger – nominated health as the industry they wanted to work in. 

This is encouraging news for nurses Megan Feneley and Beth Riordan who both started their nursing careers at Royal North Shore Hospital’s intensive care unit this year. 

It was their passion for helping people that drew them to the nursing profession. 

“To be the person who is there for patients every step of the way and assisting them in getting better is something so special that no other profession can embody,” Megan said. 

“Nursing is so rewarding and nothing brings me more joy than seeing my patients improve and eventually go home thanks to the care myself and others have provided.”

Beth’s mum, as well as her love of science, also inspired her to go into nursing. 

“My mum used to be a theatre nurse at Royal North Shore Hospital and I always found her stories really interesting,” Beth said. 

Megan said the staff have been so supportive of her learning and ensuring she gets the best experience out of her first year as a new graduate. She said to see her patients smile and thank her for the care she provides always touches her heart. 

“It makes me love my job even more,” she said. 

“It makes me proud to say that I contributed to improving the health of individuals.”

Both Megan and Beth agree it is incredibly rewarding caring for people. 

“It is so rewarding to see patients – who when they’re first admitted are very sick and very dependent on others – get better and become more autonomous,” Beth said. 

“As for the patients who don’t get better, it is really sad and tragic but in that regard, it’s incredibly rewarding to make palliative patients and their families feel comfortable and safe during end of life care.”

It is a one of a kind profession
Megan Feneley, RNSH ICU Nurse

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on healthcare workers across the world. Only having started in their roles this year, Megan and Beth said they have not had to endure the worst of the pandemic, but they speak very highly of their colleagues who have worked so hard over the last few years. 

“It’s hard to say that the pandemic has strengthened them [colleagues] as nurses because they were already incredibly resilient and emotionally strong,” Beth said. 

Megan said she was told by someone that nurses gave a part of themselves in the pandemic that they may never get back. 

“That really touched me,” she said. 

“It has inspired me to try and bring more joy into the profession and show people hope is not lost, we can bounce back from this.”

To young people considering a career in nursing, Megan and Beth have one message: go for it. 

“You are there for people in their good and bad times and you get to be one of the people who nourishes the patient back to good health.”

Beth said she has always looked up to ICU nurses for their level of knowledge and skill set.

“To be able to call myself one doesn’t feel real,” she said. 

“It’s a very diverse career – there is a lot of opportunity for professional development, to up-skill or change clinical areas. You’ll always be learning every day.”

“It’s a privilege to have the role.”

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