A year into her midwifery and nursing study, Maggie Gleeson was posed with a number of questions.
Will I get COVID? Am I going to be able to finish my placement? Will I have to teach myself at home?
It quickly became clear that students would become an important part of the clinical workforce during the pandemic, but the threat of COVID remained.
“Working with COVID positive patients certainly adds extra concern and stress. The intensity of the placements were a lot higher than pre-COVID,” she said.
Far from being a baptism of fire, her 10 placements across Victorian hospitals in the past few years have given the La Trobe University student an inner belief that she can thrive in high-pressure situations.
“You have to show more initiative, ask more questions and figure things out as people are a lot busier,” she said.
“It’s made me more resilient and made me realise I can do more than I think.”
Maggie is one of around 1800 nursing, paramedicine and allied health students whose placements were maintained at Bendigo Health throughout the pandemic. Booked placement days for 2021 were 25,700.51, with 2022 slightly higher, sitting at 27,624.10.
Director of Clinical Learning and Development, Susan Furness said placements were maintained to ensure continued growth of the health workforce at a time of great upheaval, staff shortages, increased clinical demands, and general uncertainty.
“Clinical placement provides health care students with essential skills to enable them to enter the workforce feeling competent and prepared for their future careers,” she said.
“Placement is an important opportunity to feel part of a clinical team, transfer theory into practice, and get to know more about their chosen profession – and often themselves.”