"I decided to undertake my Master of Advanced Nursing Practice as I wanted to further build my capacity to lead and influence clinical change. I want to promote the provision of exceptional evidence-based care for women and newborns from all walks of life."
I decided to undertake my Master of Advanced Nursing Practice as I wanted to further build my capacity to lead and influence clinical change. I want to promote the provision of exceptional evidence-based care for women and newborns from all walks of life.
Since completing my postgraduate studies in 2016, I have been working in a tertiary NICU in Melbourne in various leadership roles, including Associate Unit Manager, Acting Nurse Unit Manager and Clinical Nurse Consultant.
I chose the University of Melbourne for my studies due to its reputation not only for teaching but also research. The university also has strong links with the organisation I work for, which has allowed me to build strong professional relationships.
The thing I have found most beneficial about the structure of the Master of Advanced Nursing Practice is the ability to choose topics to focus assignments on that have direct links to my specialty area and clinical practice. This has provided me the opportunity to take my new learnings into my work and lead quality improvement projects or initiate clinical practice changes that have had a direct impact on the care we provide to our patients and their families.
The research subjects within the course really challenged and put me outside my comfort zone. They have provided me with a strong foundation and understanding of research and how to implement it into clinical practice.
I have developed skills in both research and quality improvement practices which has not only increased my ability to lead projects but has also provided me with the confidence and skills required to empowered other nurses to lead clinical practice change within the unit.
As part of my studies, I was able to develop a quality improvement project, implement it into clinical practice and observe the positive effect it has had on the care we provide. I have also learnt the skills necessary for critically appraising and critiquing research and am currently utilising those skills to conduct a small research project focused on the development of a comprehensive evidence-based clinical practice guideline.
During COVID-19, my studies moved exclusively online which I loved as it provided me with the ability to work at my own leisure. This was of particular benefit to me as I was also juggling a full-time leadership role in a busy tertiary unit who were also rapidly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The best thing the teaching staff did during this time was openly and honestly communicate with the students. They were always transparent with their plans and there was always a feeling that ‘we were in it together’.
Because of the course, I now have the skills and knowledge that is required to improve and promote exceptional care and patient experiences. It has also allowed me to further develop my clinical leadership and role modelling skills and has built my confidence to support, empower and mentor staff through their own career advancement.
I currently work as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Women’s Hospital. In my role, I oversee the delivery of effective clinical nursing care and act as a clinical resource for staff. My role is quite variable on a day-to-day basis and changes based on the needs of the unit but include guideline development and review, evidence-based quality improvement development and implementation, clinical auditing, involvement in research projects as well as the provision of clinical leadership at both a local and state level.
What I love about my job is the ability to directly influence clinical care and to work with intelligent and passionate clinicians who are all focused on the provision of exceptional care and patient experiences utilising a family centred care approach in a safe, supportive and culturally sensitive manner.
The patients and families in our care inspire me every day. Their courage and strength in the face of considerable adversity is what makes we want to continually improve myself both personally and professionally.
My advice to future students is never stop learning and challenging yourself. As clinicians, we owe it to our patients and their families to have the highest-level skills and knowledge to ensure we are always providing exceptional evidence-based care.