Monday morning and the first day on the job had a hint of déjà vu for Brisbane’s Dale Currey.
The 25-year-old Griffith University School of Medicine graduate was among 40 interns starting life as a doctor at Logan Hospital, but her surroundings were not entirely unfamiliar.
Dale previously worked as an emergency nurse at Logan and other Queensland health hospitals after graduating as a nurse in 2006. The nursing degree laid the foundations for her medical training through Griffith’s Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery program from 2008 to 2011.
“I think nursing has been an excellent stepping stone to becoming a doctor,” she said. “It has given me a great advantage throughout my clinical training years and now starting my career as an intern.
“You get to know how a hospital works and learn many of the skills that, like nurses, doctors also require. Most importantly, you learn how to talk to and interact with patients which hopefully will help to ease my transition from nurse to intern this year.
“As a nurse I was also able to easily work part-time, and earn a professional level wage, enabling me to practise important skills relevant to both nursing and medicine while studying to be a doctor.”
Dale also bolstered her studies by completing a research article as a part of a Griffith University Primary Health Care writing bursary scholarship. The research investigates different neonatal outcomes resulting from caesarean sections compared with natural births.
Her findings, in an article titled ‘Impact of caesarean delivery on neonatal outcome: implications for prenatal counselling by healthcare professionals’ have been submitted to an academic journal for publication.
“I always want to know more,” says Dale who started her internship on the obstetrics and gynaecology ward where she will work for the first five weeks of her 12-month term.
“It’s great to be on the wards so quickly and feeling like a real doctor. It makes it very real from day one. I anticipated I would be overwhelmed on my first day and overloaded with information and I wasn’t disappointed.
“It sounds like it’s going to be pretty full on for the first five weeks as I find my feet as a doctor in a specialised area. The thought of signing my first medication chart or my first fluid order excites me but terrifies me at the same time.”
At times during her first day Dale felt a compulsion to go home and reopen her medical manuals to brush up on a host of medical topics that had come up on day one. However, the importance of a proper work-life balance and efficient time management in a busy hospital remained a priority for her.
“We were advised that it’s normal to need to find out more and not to be too hard on ourselves. It’s about building knowledge and gaining confidence and knowing who to talk to when we need questions answered. It’s ok to ask for help, it’s unreasonable to be expected to know everything from day one.”
Dale received a Queensland Health bonded medical scholarship to support her education at Griffith University and is excited that she will be working within Queensland Health for the next six years, as she lays the foundations for the rest of her medical career.
Dale is currently interested in emergency medicine, and hopes to pursue this career pathway by applying to get onto an emergency training program in the next few years.