An innovative program is supporting nursing staff to transition into new dynamic roles in acute settings, providing invaluable professional development and bolstering the emergency care delivered to patients in Melbourne's western suburbs.
After working in quarantine and testing facilities across Australia during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Faraz Khan was keen to return to 'his calling' tending to patients at the bedside.
Whereas Catherine Griffiths sought to land her dream job working in an Emergency Department (ED).
Together with Sooyhun Kim, they secured a place in the innovative Transition to Acute Care (TAC) Program, which supported them to gain skills and knowledge inside our Footscray Emergency Departments, allowing them to transition into the acute sector.
Faraz describes how his clinical skills and confidence was bolstered within weeks, thanks to the education, training and support from the nursing team.
"I learnt how to do complex wound dressings, different types of cannulation and some new clinical assessment," Faraz said.
"It was challenging and rewarding to work in Footscray Hospital ED, I was able to see patients experiencing trauma and distress recover quickly and helping them at the bedside was so rewarding."
The desire to help people in need in a tangible way was what drove Faraz, who came to Australia from Pakistan as an international student to pursue a career in nursing.
"I wanted to help patients at their bedside and nursing was something very close to my spiritual and religious beliefs," Faraz said.
After completing his studies, he worked as an agency nurse and then the COVID-19 pandemic began.
"I started working in the community among quarantine facilities and testing centres in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. I worked for Melbourne Hotel quarantine, Tennis Australia's quarantine program, Aboriginal health in South Australia and telehealth in Tasmania," he said.
"Since the pandemic situation has improved and the international borders opened, I felt it was time for me to go back to hospital and work in acute care setting, but it had been some time since I had worked in acute care and needed some encouragement and guidance. Therefore, the TAC program was perfect fit for me."
Faraz said he was enjoying being part of the Western Health team.
"The work culture at Western Health is very positive and I do not hesitate in asking for help on the floor. Also, the medical staff is supportive of nurses taking charge in patient care.
"It makes you feel special that you have direct role in your clients' recovery."
Western Health ED Registered Nurse Catherine Griffiths also benefited immensely from the program.
"I was incredibly fortunate in securing a place in the Transition to Acute Care Program with Western Health when broader COVID-19 testing ceased in September 2022," Catherine said.
"I was placed in the very busy Footscray Emergency Department where I worked under the wing of my co-workers for two weeks before branching out on my own.
"I now have an ongoing position in ED and I'm completing the Discovery Program and will be undertaking my Postgraduate Certificate in Emergency Nursing later this year.
"I'm so pleased that I've been able to land my dream job working in the ED and the TAC program was incredibly helpful in gaining the experience in an acute field that I wouldn't have been able to achieve otherwise.
"I found the program to be very supportive, but also enabled me to gain the skills of working independently.
"The TAC Program would be perfect for a nurse who did not do a Graduate Year Program and needed a stepping stone to gain experience in acute nursing."
The Transition to Acute Care Program (TAP) is a nursing workforce and education initiative that aims to increase skill and knowledge in registered and enrolled nurses, who have not participated in recent acute Australian hospital nursing care experience.
It seeks to support these nurses to gain skills and experience, whilst ensuring our patients receive the very best care.
We are currently recruiting to the TAC program – see our job advertisement for more: https://westernhealth.mercury.com.au/ViewPosition.aspx?id=7FJNyoEa9LY