Fiona Stanley Hospital supports Graduate Nurse Kellie to join the COVID-19 frontline

Woman in FSH uniform smiling
February 1, 2022

Murdoch University Graduate Nurse Kellie Rennie is looking forward to starting her professional career at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH). But unlike other university graduates, Kellie will start her career facing the pandemic head-on, as she expects to treat COVID-19 patients on the respiratory ward as Western Australia faces a potential high caseload environment.

She is one of the 200 essential graduate nurses entering the South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) workforce, who are being supported to start their careers during the unprecedented time in WA healthcare.

Kellie said she was feeling nervous but excited about starting her new role but feels she will be well supported at FSH for her graduate year, after having a great experience at the hospital during her student placement.

“Even though I’m nervous about transitioning from being a student to a graduate as the COVID-19 Omicron wave is expected, I really care about helping those who are vulnerable,” Kellie said. “And what better time to help vulnerable people than during a global pandemic!

Gerald (Ged) Williams, Area Director Nursing and Midwifery for SMHS said that onboarding larger numbers of graduates like Kellie has been a deliberate strategy to prepare the hospital for caring for increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients, and that the hospital is ensuring graduates have all the support they will need.

“As we have seen in other states, spread of Omicron into the WA health system will require all hands-on deck, and our graduates will be an essential part of our workforce during this time” Ged said.

“Graduates like Kellie will be well supported by a mentor Grad Coach. The graduates will take on a patient load commensurate with their experience, knowledge and skills which will slowly increase as their confidence and skills grow.”

“Importantly, all graduates will be protected against contracting COVID-19, by being triple dose vaccinated and trained on how to fit masks and don and doff Personal Protective Equipment correctly. Additional COVID patient care and infection prevention training will also be provided, to ensure graduates are safe.”

For Kellie, she said she will adjust her life as she goes while treating COVID-19 positive patients.

“I may decide to not see my two young nephews over the next few months, but thankfully I can video call them.”

Thank you to Kellie and the many other graduates who are joining the SMHS team at this time.

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