David Townsend is certainly not afraid to try new things.
In his 10 years at Bendigo Health he’s worked in a number of departments before finding a ‘home’ in ICU.
Since completing his first graduate year as an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse, David has upskilled as a Registered Nurse (RN) and then as a Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN). He credits the “amazing flexibility and scope of career pathway” that Bendigo Health has provided as a big part of the reason for continuing his education.
“I spent a couple of years between ICU and ED, back on pool nursing, but now I have finally settled in ICU, I love it, I’ve finally found a home,” he said.
David’s career and willingness to work in many different areas has helped hone his exceptional communication and interpersonal skills as well as his critical thinking skills.
Earlier on, David found a passion for Palliative Care. “It’s one of the most pivotal moments in a patient's journey and for the family as well, being able to give them support and peace in their final days, weeks, or months and the end of life was really important.”
But, for David, something more challenging drew him to ICU. “I think ICU for me, is very much about the complexity of the patients and the challenges that come with that - there are time-critical interventions but I also use a lot of the same skills I used in Palliative Care – a lot of complex conversations with families, a lot of discussions around continuation of treatment and finding ways to support families through that is really challenging.”
Earlier in his career, as an EEN, David gained valuable experience working for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service whilst also completing a business degree and helping his partner and her friends study to become RNs.
David also took some time to ‘float’ while on Nurse Bank and Nurse Pool covering all areas of the hospital from the medical to the surgical wards, from rehab to palliative care, and ED to community nursing.
“I’ve also had a lot of exposure to theatre, which was never a place I was drawn to - but very interesting to observe. I love a challenge and the scope available to nurses is so broad,” he said.
Now working in ICU as a Clinical Nurse Consultant, David hopes to add to the career of other nurses by nurturing workplace culture and staff wellbeing, providing bedside support and developing and delivering education.
“Within ICU for example, we’ve got the Paediatric BASIC Course which is 3 days focused on paediatric intensive care. We also have input from PIPER the Paediatric, Infant, and Perinatal Emergency Retrieval service, Donate Life, and various other services. There are so many opportunities for training and education.”
“We also have a great education department called LEAD, that’s the Learning Education and Development department - so the opportunities on offer are huge, inside and outside of ICU.”
The Post Graduate Critical Care Course which is run in conjunction with Monash University has specialties in both ICU and ED. Three educators support the ED and ICU streams through that year.
“It’s an incredibly well supported course,” he said. “There are paid study days, weekly education sessions, and university teaching as well; it’s similar to a graduate year in that there is an understanding that the students are not expected to know everything, they are there to learn and we are here to support them.”
“I’ve always felt like there was a culture of support within the organisation and I consider myself lucky to have worked with so many wonderful people; hopefully I can give some of that back,” he said.
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