Oncology paediatric nurse Chantelle is inspired by the resilience of the children she works with. Also a nursing educator, she takes pride in guiding the next generation of nurses in her hospital.
My name is Chantelle and I studied the Graduate Certificate in Paediatrics, and then the Master of Advanced Nursing Practice at the University of Melbourne.
From an early age, I knew that I wanted to have the type of job where I could go to work each day knowing that I had made a difference or impact on the world. I remember when I was in high school, going to visit one of my family members who was in hospital and seeing the nursing staff interact with him. They were so compassionate and caring, and they showed such empathy. That’s when I realised that nursing was my passion and caring for people was what I wanted to pursue.
After completing my bachelors degree and furthering my nursing career, I’ve also realised that I've got a real passion for being able to provide support and preceptorship to other nurses. That’s brought me to my current role in nursing education and is also what stimulated me to want to go back and do postgraduate studies with the University of Melbourne.
When our oncology patients complete treatment and then come back to visit six months, a year, or several years later, you see how they're flourishing —they’re not even recognisable.
My favourite part of nursing is the fact that every day is a different day. I get to continuously meet new people and be exposed to new opportunities and experiences. I love the fact that I have the privilege to not only care for some amazing families, but also work alongside some amazing nurses and doctors. We all rally together to provide high quality patient care and make sure that our patients are having a positive experience when they're in hospital.
From as early as I can remember, I've always wanted to have a job that involved working with children. What I love the most about my specialty of paediatric oncology nursing is the fact that children are just so extremely resilient even when the odds are against them . Their positive attitude, their outlook on life, is just really inspiring and it makes going to work each day really rewarding.
Some of my favourite memories stem back to when our oncology patients complete treatment and then come back to visit six months, a year, or several years later, and you see how they're flourishing. They’re not even recognisable. Knowing that you've had the honour of sharing that special journey with them from start to end, good times and the bad — it’s a really heartwarming feeling when you do get to see them like that.
When a patient has passed away, not only is it a sad experience because you're saying goodbye to a patient who you cared for over an extended period of time, but you're also saying goodbye to the family who you built a special rapport with. What touches me the most during those moments is the fact that, despite the fact the family's experienced such heartbreak, they are always so thankful for all the help and support that you've provided them with during their hospital stay. You just have a real kind of admiration for them.
My proudest moments in my career have been getting into my dream job at the Royal Children's Hospital and completing my Master of Advanced Nursing Practice with my minor thesis in a topic that is going to benefit both clinical practice and patient outcomes — knowing that that hard work is going to actually benefit people around me is really good. If you're motivated and passionate about excelling in your nursing career then anything is possible. Hard work and determination does pay off.
Studying with the University of Melbourne, I had a really positive experience. I was quite fortunate because the university has a really good collaboration with the hospital that I work at. There was an ease of convenience with our classes, which were offered on-site with our hospital. Everyone was always so helpful. The lecturers are always really accommodating and I always found that the content was really targeted and beneficial to what I was wanting to get out of it.
If you're motivated and passionate about excelling in your nursing career then anything is possible. Hard work and determination does pay off.
Having completed my masters has not only given me the platform to excel in my nursing career into the areas of nursing education, research and leadership, it’s also given me the opportunity to network with different health professionals across different organisations, both locally and internationally.
One of the reasons I got into nursing education was because I loved being able to support and mentor new nurses to the hospital and develop their knowledge, skills and attributes to be able to provide high quality patient care. What I love most is when we have graduate nurses and seeing where knowledge applies to practice — there’s a light bulb moment. Knowing that you've been able to facilitate that process and you've watched their growth occur — it’s an enjoyable side of the job.
The person that mentored me showed me a lot of patience and a lot of compassion when trying to teach me new things. There was a real nurturing relationship between us. I think that's really important when you are providing education to new staff or to graduate nurses or undergraduate nurses, because you don't want to set anyone up for failure. You want to be able to make sure that you're creating a positive learning environment for them to thrive and be the best nurse they can be.