Monday, 21 July 2014

New Adventures, New Blog

Disclaimer: This is a long post. I have sort of included the whole story of how I got into nursing. At this point I am not actually working as a nurse. Indeed, I am hardly working as a personal carer. I am actually writing this on my last shift! But I ask you to bear with me, just because :P
Well here I am, over two years since I arrived back in Australia from the UK and oh how things have changed. I started uni less then a week after arriving back in the country (and with approximately $400 in my bank account). After applying for both nursing and education, I had decided to 'just go with it' and whatever I was accepted into would be what I was going to study. And that turned out to be the two year graduate entry Bachelor of Nursing at QUT, Kelvin Grove (grad entry as I had already done a 4 year BPsych in Townsville).
Two years later and I am registered, about to graduate and have a graduate position with Queensland Health in the Torres Strait - Northern Peninsula Hospital and Health Service, flying out of Brisbane August 4. That's TWO weeks away. Only. (eep!!). Between even knowing about the position, interviews and getting the job was less then a week, so it definitely came as a bit of a shock. However now that I have had more time to think about it, I can definitely say that things are starting to sink in. I started packing/going through my stuff yesterday day and I must admit there were a few tears. I am leaving my boyfriend in Brisbane and will miss him A LOT (too much). Hopefully the fact that I'll be working full time will be enough to distract me!
So I guess there is the question of 'why the Torres Strait?' Well, like with most of my nursing career, I kind of just fell into it. In contrast, whenever I have tried to follow an education career path, things have generally not gone on track. Let me back track a bit, for those of you who don't know my story. When I was a kid I sort of changed between wanting to be a nurse or a teacher. However when it came time to decide what I wanted to actually wanted to at uni, I had changed my mind on both counts. So I decided to study Psychology at James Cook University in Townsville. About half way through that degree I decided once again that yes, I did actually want to do education. Only one problem - JCU had stopped doing the dual Psych/education degree. So I decided to just continue with the Psych degree and do the post graduate diploma after finishing psych. Of course that didn't work out, as I ended up going to the UK, but more about that later.
The next semester I was doing an external subject and had done a block subject. As such I only had two subjects on campus, and therefore had a lot of free time. I thought I might enrol at TAFE and study a certificate in child care at the same time, externally. Well that fell through, as I received the paperwork the day I was driving down to Brisbane for 3 months over the summer. When I was in Brisbane I got a temporary job at Centrelink working in the call centre, signing people up for Newstart allowance, and with that I knew I was eligible when I returned to Townsville (as I had resigned from my job at Subway in Townsville due to the long time away and my contract with Centrelink had ended). So when I returned I signed up to Newstart allowance.
With Newstart I was required to apply for so many jobs per week, and I found one in the paper - a job working as a personal care assistant with the Spinal Injuries Association. I applied, and got it, just like that, and that began my 5 year career in personal care work. When I finished uni I applied to work as a carer in the UK and again, got that job. I worked there for two years before making the decision to return to uni. And as I said before I let fate guide me, and I was accepted into nursing easily.
Fast forward two years and it was time for me to start applying for graduate positions! I had done a placement at the Wesley Hospital and absolutely loved it there. As only private hospitals had mid-year intakes, the Wesley was the only place I applied. I had missed the cut-off for the Mater as they had not updated their website, and I was not interested in applying for Greenslopes - mainly because I had not done a prac there. When I got through to interview I was really excited and sure I had made the right decision to follow nursing as a career path. Working at the Wesley would have also been really convenient as it was so close to Reece's! Alas, it was not meant to be. I must admit I was a bit down heartened when I discovered I had not been successful in obtaining a position, especially as my nursing path had come so easy previously :(
Another few weeks and that would all change though. An opportunity arose to apply for a mid year graduate program based on Thursday Island and I took it! There was also the opportunity for a five month mental health grad program in Mackay and I also put my name down for that. At the time I hadn't really thought much about whether I would actually take a job in T.I or Mackay or not, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. A rural/remote grad nursing program would just give me skills that I would not have the opportunity to learn in a big city hospital. And there are other incentives too ;)
So, it was about the 3rd of July that I got a phone call asking if I would like my CV to be included in those looked at for interview. The next day I got asked to interview and then Monday July 7 I had the interview. I was worried as the whole thing went for less then 15 minutes. But I was prepared, I had notes. I felt I may have talked too fast, but there was no umming and ahhing. I answered the questions, but I still wasn't sure. They told me I would hear back by the end of the week. I heard back The.Next.Day. Wow, quickest waiting game ever!! But it was good, better then the Wesley experience where hopes slowly dwindled as the hours and days went by :/ So it turned out that I was successful at getting the job. Yay! Less then a week between knowing the position existed and getting the job, things hadn't really sunk in. (As a side note, after accepting the T.I job I did get asked to interview for the Mackay job, but turned that down).
Ok, now that we are caught up to how I got into nursing and subsequently a job on Thursday Island, I have had a couple of weeks to think about things. And the more I think about it, the more it makes sense that I would get a job in the most northerly part of Australia. For one, I have always said that I would prefer to go hours north but stay living in Queensland than going less then two hours south, which would take me into New South Wales. I am a proud Queenslander and living in NSW has never really been something I aspire to. Living in the Torres Strait means I can not live any further north! Two, I think I am destined to not live in Brisbane. It's no wonder when people makes comments like:
  • 'What is with you Odgaard's living in far flung places?' - FYI my sister lives in Rockhampton, my parents live in Katherine, NT and my uncle lives in India. Plus of course, I have lived in Townsville for half of my adult life and the UK for two years.
  • 'You are your father's daughter' in regards to adventure.' And honestly, I am quite sure that living on Thursday Island will be an adventure!

I look forward to sharing this new adventure of mine with you. I hope you have made it to the bottom of this post and will follow along with subsequent posts. I promise in the future to not be as long-winded as I have been with this post!! Until then, over and out (FINALLY!!!)


  1. Love this Sarah! Some things I didn't know too.

    1. Thanks Ash! Glad you learnt some new things :)