What did you do before you started your NP course?
Over the recent years I have worked full time in a clinical role within Mental Health. I established a day program in Canberra for adults, assisted in the establishment of a day program for children and adolescents and helped establish the Mental Health Unit with the Canberra Hospital ED, which formed the basis for the current Mental Health Assessment Unit. During this period I have also strived to increase and improve my knowledge base through tertiary studies and research. I have completed two undergraduate degrees, in nursing and psychology, a Master of Mental Health and a Doctorate of Health Science prior to the Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) at UTS.
Despite short appointments in policy and nursing administration I have always returned to my primary passion, providing care to needing clients in the clinical setting. I have also been actively involved in nursing development through supervision and training of new nurses, lecturing and assisting in the development of the curriculum for the Mental Health Nursing Courses at other tertiary institutions.
What position do you currently hold?
Clinical Consultant Mental Health Assessment Unit at Canberra Hospital
What motivated you to undertake postgraduate study?
Through my clinical work and specialised training courses, I have been able to develop my application skills and knowledge however, I recognised sometime ago that I also needed to develop my underlying theoretical knowledge base and expand my knowledge of the historical and contemporary models that underpin my clinical practice. These advanced levels of learning are only available through postgraduate studies.
Why did you choose UTS?
I considered a number of options however the UTS course offered me some significant advantages over other universities that offer a nurse practitioner course. The structured face-to-face lecture schedule and the location meant that I could complete the course whilst still working full-time. Also I felt that the subjects were more applicable to a Nurse Practitioner in the clinical setting.
What have you gained from your studies?
These studies have enabled me to update and enhance my knowledge in a number of areas that I considered necessary to work at the advanced clinical level. Such areas included anatomy and physiology, diagnostics, investigative procedures, pharmacology and comprehensive assessment. In addition the legal studies have provided further insight into potential legal and ethical issues that need to be considered in the advanced clinical roles.
What was it like to study at UTS?
I enjoyed the challenge offered by the staff but I also appreciated the manner in which they assisted and interacted with myself and other students. The staff were extremely professional and had time for the individual student. The face-to-face interactions with the knowledgeable staff enabled me to gain a greater understanding of the subject material and the role of a Nurse Practitioner. I have completed studies at a number of universities over the years and I consider that UTS and its staff certainly compared more than favourably against the others.
What advice would you give to students who are studying this degree?
Although the course is demanding try to enjoy the company of the other students and the staff. You will find that they all have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that they can share with you to enhance the learning process. You have arrived at this point due to your experience and advanced knowledge so do not stress too much because you can do it! The staff are there to help you – use them.
What are your plans for the future?
I intend to stay within the clinical setting as I enjoy the interaction with the other staff and clients. Initially, I would like to work as a Nurse Practitioner in the hospital setting and then transition into my own private practice in mental health.