"I’m really interested in service improvement and policy and guideline development, so I felt this course would equip me with both the theoretical underpinning and the practical skills needed to provide advanced nursing practice and leadership."
I decided to study the Master of Advanced Nursing Practice (Nurse Practitioner) because I’ve been working in advanced clinical nursing roles for a few years, and wanted to build upon my practical experience and take the step towards becoming a Nurse Practitioner. I’m really interested in service improvement and policy and guideline development, so I felt this course would equip me with both the theoretical underpinning and the practical skills needed to provide advanced nursing practice and leadership.
I chose to study at the University of Melbourne because it had a great reputation. I work with other nurses who studied at Melbourne and had a good experience there.
I like that the course has a focus on applying new learning to clinical practice. I also like the blend of online and face to face learning. It can be challenging to balance full-time work with part-time study, but flexible learning arrangements have helped me to achieve some balance.
I’m still pretty early in the course, but am already developing new physical assessment and examination skills – things that I never really studied at an undergraduate level – which will be useful for my clinical practice and for the benefit of my patients.
I have already started implementing a practice change based on an assignment I did for one of my evidence-based practice subjects. I have applied for some funding, assembled a multidisciplinary team, and hope to commence the project mid-2021.
I started the course mid-2020 and all my first semester subjects were online. Staff were supportive and easy to reach via the LMS. Online learning is great because you can fit it into your lifestyle and schedule, but you have to be motivated to do the work. I do a lot of reading at the gym and on the train on my way to work!
I currently work in an emergency department (ED) as an alcohol and other drugs (AOD) clinical nurse consultant. I see any patient who comes into the ED whose alcohol or drug use may have contributed to the reason for their presentation. I work very much within a harm reduction framework – my role isn’t about telling people to stop using alcohol or drugs, but rather meeting patients where they are in their stage of recovery, and working with them to achieve their goals and minimise the harms arising from their AOD use.
I like my job because every day is different. It can be very rewarding seeing patients successfully make changes to their AOD use. I also enjoy working in a busy environment with clinicians with different skillsets.
When I graduate, I hope to practice as an AOD nurse practitioner and continue to work in an emergency department. My goal is to improve the quality of care and access to treatment for patients who use alcohol or other drugs.
I am inspired by compassionate and empathetic care. My patients are some of the most stigmatised in society – it’s great to see colleagues in various roles care for these patients in a non-judgmental, empathetic way.
So far, the course has helped me to plan and implement some clinical practice changes that I believe will greatly improve care for vulnerable patients. The course has allowed me to approach practice change systematically so that change can be sustained. It has also allowed me to develop essential leadership skills needed to lead change.
My advice to future students of the course is to make sure your organisation are supportive and have a clear idea of how you wish to develop a nurse practitioner role in your service.