South West Hospital and Health Service has welcomed 26 new nursing and midwifery graduates into local hospitals over the past few months.

Of these, 17 have just started fresh, being inducted in a small ceremony at the Roma Hospital on February 11.

Assistant minister for health and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert was there to welcome the new graduates for the first time inside of the new building.

She said the facilities are great and it doesn’t ‘feel like a hospital’, and feels like walking into a shopping centre or the Brisbane Airport.

“One of the things I really love about this hospital; everywhere I’ve been, everybody smiles,” she said.

“It must be the happiest place in Queensland.”

Mrs Gilbert gave some words of encouragement to the new nurses and told them they have received ‘state of the art’ training.

“Your skill level is so much higher than some of those people in those big hospitals,” she said.

“What I find when I travel out to the regions is it is that sense of community and that’s what I really like.”

Sophie Roderick Picture: Lachlan Berlin
Sophie Roderick Picture: Lachlan Berlin

Graduate Sophie Roderick hails from Redland Bay and has only just made her first steps onto southwest soil, but is excited to start her new position at Surat Hospital.

She studied for three years at Griffith University and preferenced the SWHHS first for her initial deployment.

“I originally did a few years in a social work degree, and I decided it wasn’t quite for me and I really liked the practical side of it,” she said.

She enjoyed seeing what the nursing students did so she decided to switch to that.

(Left) Skye Howson, (Right) Claudia Murray Picture: Lachlan Berlin
(Left) Skye Howson, (Right) Claudia Murray Picture: Lachlan Berlin

But Quilpie’s Claudia Murray already knows what it’s like in southwest Queensland and has come back to the district to further her career.

She completed her nursing degree with Central Queensland University, studying externally while working as an enrolled nurse, first at Mungindi for two years and at St George Hospital for the past two years.

“It’s good to come back to where you’ve grown up and where you know people that are coming into the hospital where you can treat them and they come back home,” Ms Murray said.

“It’s more personal.”

Roma local Skye Howson grew up hearing about nursing all the time, with her mother working in the field.

Ms Howson did her placement in Brisbane for eight weeks and loved it.

“It’s easy to make those connections with your patients when you’ve got that little bit of history with them and you may know them from around town or know their family,” she said.

She believes patients will feel more comfortable knowing their nurses are from the area.

(Left) Julieanne Gilbert MP, (Right) Samantha Edmonds Picture: Lachlan Berlin
(Left) Julieanne Gilbert MP, (Right) Samantha Edmonds Picture: Lachlan Berlin

SWHHS executive director of nursing and midwifery services Chris Small said the size of the

graduate intake was reflective of the continuing strong interest among graduates in joining the health service.

“Since March 2017, our 12-month graduate transition program has been endorsed by the

University of Southern Queensland for two credit points towards any future course of study the graduates might want to embark upon as their careers progress.’’

Mr Small said the new graduates included a dual-degree nursing and paramedicine graduate and one midwife.

All the new graduates undergo a week’s orientation at Roma Hospital before being assigned to health facilities throughout the region.

“They will be working in a variety of areas, including acute medical, surgical, emergency, maternity, aged care, community and primary health and supporting the hospital-based ambulance in the facilities where these are located,’’ he said.

She’s really looking forward to working with the small communities and wants to ensure all locals get great health service.

“I’m really looking forward to the communities. I really love how close-knit all the communities are.”


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