Bendigo Health launches the Critical Care Graduate Program

Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Bendigo Health launches the Critical Care Graduate Program Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Carol-Anne Lever with Steph Milsom, Shelby Trigg, Alex Milsom and Director of Nursing Ambulatory and Critical Care Kate Fuller.
A new cohort of graduate nurses have commenced at Bendigo Health.

Bendigo Health has this week launched the Critical Care Graduate Program. Under the program, 12 graduate Registered Nurses (RNs) will undertake a nine month rotation in the Emergency Department, three months in the Short Stay Observation Unit (SSOU), as well as two weeks supernumerary time in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Director of Nursing Ambulatory and Critical Care Kate Fuller said the overall aim of the program was to increase the number of critical care RNs within the organisation.  

“It’s really important to start growing our own staff from the onset. We realised during the pandemic we needed to do things a bit differently in regards to recruiting and retaining staff,” she said.

“We hope this program becomes a career path the graduates will want to keep pursuing, and hopefully they’ll undertake postgraduate studies in the future.”

By completing rotations in the Emergency Department, SSOU and ICU, the graduates will develop essential skills to provide specialised care to critically unwell patients.

“[In these critical care areas], patient assessment is really important. Learning that initiative and time management is key,” Ms Fuller said.

“Often graduates will come into the Emergency Department after doing their graduate year and it takes a little longer to develop those specialist skills. With this program, we’re aiming to do that earlier.”

One graduate commencing in the program is Shelby Trigg – who since year 12, knew nursing was for her.

“I was chasing a career that offers something different every day,” she said.

“My mum is a nurse in a clinic and my dad is a fire brigade captain who loves adrenaline. For me the two paths collided and I found myself interested in the critical care stream.”

“I’m really pleased to be getting a shot at this position, which will set me up for success in this field,” she said.

Shelby, who previously completed a 12 month placement as a Registered Undergraduate Student of Nursing (RUSON) in the SSOU, said she is most excited to start applying her skills learnt during placement to look after patients presenting to ED, and later, those in the post-care stage in the ICU.

Meanwhile, 22 graduates have commenced as part of the general graduate program, who will undertake rotations in inpatient wards, community nursing and patient services. Six graduates have also commenced in the interventional suite, five as RNs and Registered Midwives, three in aged care and 16 in mental health.

Twins Alex and Steph Milsom from the general stream also commenced at Bendigo Health as RUSONs, and like Shelby, are looking forward to applying the skills they’ve learnt over the past 12 months.

“It’ll be really good to work with [Steph] and complete our grad year together” Alex said.

“I’m excited that I get to stay in Bendigo and continue working in the orthopaedic ward. I’ll be able to enhance my skills and meet new people.”

Steph is likewise excited to gain more experience on the wards, as she commences in surgical and medical.

“I’m looking forward to both of them, and just being able to work with the other nurses to bring our knowledge and different experiences together,” she said.