By Alesha Capone
Seventy-eight people have joined this year’s Mercy Health Graduate Program to become a registered nurse, midwife or mental health nurse.
Mercy Health Graduate Program lead Janine Kinston said the program would involve a year-long journey for the participants, 38 of whom will be based at Werribee Mercy Hospital during the next 12 months.
“They will learn from a team of educators and put into practice their skills alongside senior clinicians across a number of nursing and midwifery specialties, including emergency, perioperative, medical, surgical, palliative care, rehabilitation, Special Care Nursery, maternity services and mental health,” Ms Kinston said.
An enrolled nurse of more than 20 years, Hoppers Crossing resident Melissa Channer, will be taking part in the palliative care program.
“I’ve worked in aged care nursing for a long time but this graduate program gives me the opportunity to fully commit to this area of work,” Ms Channer said.
“People at all stages of life need to be given the utmost care.
“There is so much emphasis on sustaining life, but I want to give the very best of care, and of myself, to those at the end of their lives.”
Melissa will work at Werribee Mercy Hospital’s dedicated palliative care unit, the Gabrielle Jennings Centre, for six months of the program, while her other six months will be community-based.
Her fellow program student Kristy Short, a mother-of-five, studied a three-year nursing degree ahead of starting the Mercy Health graduate program.
Ms Short started university at the same time as her 21-year-old daughter.
“I’ve had this lifelong desire to become a nurse, and now is the right time,” she said.
“I think that my life experience helped me to get into this program, and as a mother of five I have a natural instinct to care, so I’m really looking forward to putting everything I’ve learned from life and from my degree into practice.
“A nursing degree is like a pre-apprenticeship and a graduate program is like an apprenticeship, so it will be an exciting year of learning on the job from some very experienced clinicians and educators.”