A day in the life of a HCA agency nurse

Follow the typical day of a HCA agency nurse

Back in July, HCA followed a typical day for Oncology nurse Dianne Mcdonald. During our time with Dianne, we got to talk to her about her role as an Oncology nurse- caring for patients with cancer, her passion for travel, family and how working with Healthcare Australia benefits her life.

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Dianne joined Healthcare Australia after returning from her latest trip to South America, where Dianne and her husband traveled down the coast of Chile up to Argentina, to the Carnival, through to Rio and beyond!

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Once back in Australia, Dianne got in touch with HCA and very quickly secured shifts in one of Sydney’s most prestigious hospitals as a specialist Oncology nurse at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Campbelltown Private Hospital in Macarthur and here’s what she has to say…

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What is the role of an Oncology nurse?
Oncology is the care of people with adult cancers and we try and support them from diagnosis, through treatment and as out patients.

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Can you tell us about your nursing background?
I started nursing 40 years ago at RPA in Sydney. I have worked in a lot of different disciplines, across metro areas and in a rural community where I was an Oncology nurse in a small satellite clinic.

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Can you tell us about a typical working day as an Oncology nurse?
A typical day is busy getting to work. Normally I get in early and enjoy a coffee with the other nurses and relax before the start of a shift.

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Then we start to do our preparations – getting lines ready, looking at our patient lists, checking blood results and making sure the right paperwork is in place and with the right people such as pharmacists. Then when all the boxes are ticked we see our first patient. There is a lot of behind the scenes work in nursing!

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What challenges do you face as an Oncology nurse?
People ask that question a lot but for me it’s not challenging, it’s rewarding. The days can be long but even if I come to work and I’m having a bad day I get strength from my patients and it makes my flat tyre on the way to work seem trivial. It’s a good leveller.

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What rewards do you experience as an Oncology nurse?
After 25 years there are lots of rewards but if you can get a patient to see their daughter get married, their first grandchild be born or their child even go to school then that is a reward. To give someone extended life that’s a real gift.

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What benefits do you get from working with HCA as an agency nurse?
My husband and I have three beautiful children and we like to visit them as much as possible, we also enjoy traveling for six months of the year and so working with HCA gives me lots of flexibility because I can turn work on and off. This time I had a shift within seven days of returning to Australia.

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Self-rostering and particularly using the eHCA app on the phone also gives me so much freedom. I can pick up an extra shift if want to or I can decline a shift, it’s very easy!

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You mentioned that you use the eHCA app, how do you find using the app helps you organise your days?
I use the app for my timetabling, I put my availability in for the weeks in advance whether I want to do an evening shift, morning or weekend and then when a shift becomes available HCA send me a request and I can either accept or decline a shift. It’s all done electronically which is great!

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How do you feel that the HCA team particularly supported you?
My consultant was great. She got me in to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse which is great because sometimes as an agency nurse it can be challenging to work in a specialty area. My consultant at HCA worked hard to facilitate my placement here.

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HCA has a multitude of training courses on offer for nurses and doctors – What is your experience of these?
You can book courses online through the app or online, to do your CPR or whatever you need to do. Additionally you can do all of your competencies online, it’s really easy.

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Do you find that there is a wide availability of shifts?
There is, I see them on the app and depending on your skill you could work in ICU, coronary care, orthopaedics, surgical – anywhere you want, the shifts are plentiful.

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Would you recommend Healthcare Australia to other nurses?
My experience with HCA has been fantastic. I have been able to get employment quickly and it enables me to have a fantastic life and lifestyle!

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To find out more about a typical day as an Oncology nurse and the benefits of working with Healthcare Australia as an agency nurse.