From an aerialist acrobat to a nurse

Monday, 12 February, 2024

From an aerialist acrobat to a nurse

A career transition from an aerialist to a nurse may not seem obvious, but for Kylie Page — who always aspires to assist others during difficult times — a move to nursing was a well-planned action.

After working on board Royal Caribbean cruises as an aerial artist in the world-class entertainment shows for 16 years, Kylie recently commenced a career as a registered nurse with acceptance into the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s graduate program 2024. A combined interest in anatomy and physiology throughout her performing career and a passion to help people, especially during COVID-19, inspired the timing of her decision to study nursing and make a career change to health care.

Kylie recently graduated with distinction from Charles Sturt University, receiving four Executive Dean’s Awards for academic achievement and the ANMF’s Student Nurse Award for 2023.

Experience volunteering for the State Emergency Service Victoria and a keen interest in trauma and emergency nursing has led to Kylie being allocated first rotation in the trauma surgical NRTP area.

This six-month rotation exposes her to a great variety of highly acute patients admitted from the emergency department where she works across four to five different ward areas including trauma, plastics, orthopaedics and surgical presentations. 

The NRTP rotation can be confronting for a new nurse at first; however, Kylie is embracing the opportunity to rapidly expand her clinical knowledge and skill set.

Kylie’s day varies depending on shift times, ward allocations and the patient’s situation, for example, if they are pre- or post-surgery, require enhanced observation or need additional services. Here, she shares a typical day in her life.

05:15 For an AM shift I tend to wake up around 5:15 am having prepared my bag and uniform the night before, shower, have coffee, maybe a small breakfast and make myself look presentable for work.

06:15 I leave for work and conveniently live about a 10–15 min walk from the hospital. Being a new RN and part of the NRTP rotation, I prefer to arrive a little earlier so I can ensure my ward allocation is confirmed and orientate myself in plenty of time for patient handover.

07:00 I then attend a huddle for a ward update to discuss vital information or patients who may have additional safety monitoring as well as our allocated patients. We then proceed to receive bedside handover from the previous bedside nurse to ensure a holistic, safe and informed approach to caring for up to four new patients and individually prepare their care appropriately. During this time I sight and introduce myself to each patient, which allows a brief assessment of their current wellbeing, request to inspect any drains, wounds, PCAs, IV lines and ask them if they have any immediate concerns such as new symptoms or pain.

07:30 Once care is taken over I commence the safety checks for each patient’s equipment and ensure the emergency equipment is present and in optimal working order. I then revise each patients file, perform a set of observations to gain current information and commence their morning medications.

09:00 Rounds usually take place at this time and the patients are reviewed by the medical team, allied health, and may require preparation for medical imaging or theatre. Depending on the patient I will ensure they are comfortable and dressed appropriately for surgery or imaging, and complete observations, documentation and consult any new medical information for the patient. If they are coming back from theatre I will monitor them closely, perform necessary assessments and ensure pain remains minimal.

10:00/10:30 Around this time I take a 15-minute break and get some fresh air.

10:45 The next part of the shift is quite individualised to the patient’s needs — for example, personal cares and ensuring clean comfort, further individualised assessments depending on their situation.

13:30 Handover to the nurse taking over the next shift occurs to ensure a smooth continuity of care. Details on the admission, procedures, current status and goals of care.

14:00 Continue to assist, document and provide care until the shift ends at 15:30.

Once the shift is complete and depending on my upcoming schedule I like to relax, walk, discover Melbourne, catch up with friends or travel home to my family’s country property.”

Kylie says that working at the Royal Melbourne Hospital as a registered nurse has so far been a wonderful whirlwind of excitement, commitment, rewarding moments, finding her feet and meeting supportive and dedicated co-workers. “I have also met so many lovely patients who have helped to shape my positive journey as a registered nurse so far and reaffirm the reason I selected this career path.”

Images: Supplied.

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