Meet Shaye – a Registered Nurse who gives you an insight into Nursing Graduate Program in Rural Western Australia!

Join our new FB group Rural & Remote Nursing | The Australian Outback

For other articles from students and grads like this one – go here after!


My name is Shaye, I’m a 22-year-old female who was born in Perth. I grew up with laughter, a beach and lots of love. My Grandmother was a midwife and I grew up hearing stories of her training, working and how she delivered me and my brother! So from a young age, I knew I wanted to become a nurse. Outside of nursing, I love playing netball, I love animals and love being around my loved ones.

I studied at Notre Dame in Fremantle WA, it was a long and difficult 3 years due to having to work 3 jobs and study, but holding that certificate at the end was the best feeling! I am somebody who learns by doing things rather than reading from a book, so in a lot of aspects, I struggled with university and had to work hard, but having my awesome friends really helped!!

Nursing Graduate Program in Rural Western Australia
This was our last day of our grad!!! (I’m holding the flowers in the middle)

My Nursing Graduate Program in Rural Western Australia

For my graduate year, I applied at Albany Health Campus in rural WA. Best. Thing. I. Ever. Did. I felt I needed to stray away from my home town a little and spread my wings and fly so to speak. My first 6 months where at PlantagenetCranbrook Health Service which is called a MPS (multi-purpose site). This place was 45 minutes away from my rental home…which meant when I finished at 21:30, then had to start at 07:00 the next morning… coffee was needed! PCHS had 8 acute beds with 3 ED beds.

It also had an aged care section with 38 beds and a locked ward. It was an old hospital…still with carpets, and not nice ones….yes that old! From doing pracs at Fiona Stanley and Saint John of God (private) it was a rude awakening. Throughout these 6 months, I learnt to time manage efficiently, manage an aged care section and its staff, I was 2 months into being a nurse and had to manage staff, sick calls and even rosters. It was more than I bargained for, but in saying that I learnt skills that other grads didn’t get the opportunity to.. and I am truly a better nurse for it.

I learnt the fundamentals of how to care for a person. I learnt how to deal with death, grief and emergencies. I learnt how to connect emotionally with families but also to establish boundaries. I had the opportunity to up-skill with my ALS… this is something I recommend for people to do, an awesome course that fills you with clinical knowledge!!! Something I struggled with as a grad was how to handle myself within emergency situations and what to do.

It was an immense pressure to place onto a grad as there were only 3 nurses on, so it was critical that I needed to be on the ball and confident within my skill set. But as you can imagine it is extremely difficult to be confident within my skillset when I have only been nursing for 2-3 months. So with that, I did my ALS, and it really did equip me for those situations. During this time it was extremely difficult as Covid-19 hit. I was 5 hours away from everybody I loved and the state when into inter-state lockdown… which hit me hard.

We where conducting covid tests, we had suspected covid cases. It was scary and so unknown. Every day (literally) we would have a meeting to discuss the new policies and changed and how we had to change how we nursed these patients for risks of spreading the disease. During this stressful time, it showed me how important it is to take a mental health day/ADO/Personal leave/TOIL.

If you need a break, that’s okay and that was a challenge I had to deal with during my first 6 months. I learnt to not be afraid of looking after myself. But I really loved my first 6 months of nursing, I wouldn’t have it any other way! It was a sink or swim moment, I swam…. Swam like crazy.

I had my other 6 months at Albany Health Campus on the surgical ward. Talk about chalk and cheese. This was extremely faced paced, I had 4 patients but often would end up with more as I would discharge 3 patients end up with 3 new admissions all within a shift. Not only this but I wasn’t use to having Dr’s around because at PCHS there often wasn’t Dr’s around, meaning we nurses had to use a lot of critical and clinical thinking. These 6 months was different, It was a 10-minute drive and I made some AMAZING friends.

I learnt a whole new aspect of clinical skills. I learnt to deal with the fast pace and the copious amounts of IV antibiotics. There were difficult times, I found that I was getting burnt out and easily exhausted. I felt alone, but making friends and allowed me to create a work-life balance which is something I 1000000% recommend.

I had more time to hike, cook, clean, travel around Albany and spend time with friends, it changed my mental health. I loved the surgical ward, it was fast, clinical, and there was lots of support from the staff. I got nominated for graduate of the year which was a privilege in itself. My fellow boss’ and staff development nominated me and I was truly grateful.

The most frightening thing I dealt with was a patient who had been in a motorbike accident present to ED via ambo at PCHS. I will be honest, it was my fourth month in, and my first proper involvement in a MET call. I didn’t have a clue what to do, but I listened, tried to remain calm (well on the outside at least) and listened to the Dr who was on a video call from Perth guiding us nurses on what to do as we didn’t have any available Dr’s. This is when I was so grateful for doing night shifts and taking the time to look and understand my resus trolley. The patient survived and ended up getting flown to Royal Perth for multi-trauma injuries.

What’s next for me

I have finished my 12 months and moved back home as I missed my loved ones too much.  Not just that, but I did my 12 months, got away from my home town and really got to appreciate everybody In my life. I had job offers from Albany as they like to retain staff but sadly I was ready to come home. Now I am working at Royal Perth Hospital as a casual and loving all the buzz and excitement!

I am dealing with multi traumas in the ortho and spinal ward mainly. I am still learning something new nearly every day and it is so great to see and feel. Not only this but getting to chose my hours and being able to maintain that work-life balance has been awesome… and not to mention the extra bonus’ on the hourly rate help too! Eventually, I will go and study my midwifery and go into that field as I have always had a passion for it, but I want to gain general nursing and understandings too!

My advice to you

  • If you don’t get a grad it isn’t the end of the world. Focus on your application, seek paid services if you have to! Don’t beat yourself up, its tough out there. Utilise what you can.
  • If you go into aged care, don’t discredit the experience! You will learn the fundamentals of how to care for somebody. You will learn how to deal with death (which can be difficult), learn how to time manage and manage others (which looks great on a CV).
  • ASK FOR HELP! Don’t be afraid, ask anybody who will listen. In nursing you can make a life-altering mistake, just ask your coordinator, staff development nurse, team nurse, a Dr, even your boss. Please always ask for help.
  • Establish a time for yourself and fill up your cup. For me, spending time with myself, reading, walking, cleaning etc filled my cup up, but for others, it was being social, drinking etc. Just make sure you do you!
  • Know your resuscitation trolley!! Never ever feel unprepared in a life or death situation, have some form of understanding. Volunteer for checking it read about it, know how things work and where things are.
  • Enjoy yourself. Life is too short!!!!!!!