Welcome to the very first edition of tgfs x who’s that girl – a
weekly fortnightly when I have time, post showcasing intelligent young women who are making a difference in the world around them. From nurses to hairdressers, I hope these blog posts will remind you that we have inspiring people all around us.
Without further adieu, please let me introduce you to my very first profile, Caitlin Mulvey!
Caitlin and I went to school together in the inner west, graduating in 2009. Caitlin was always a friendly, smart and hardworking classmate and it’s obvious from our interview below that she’s maintained these qualities into her professional career.
Caitlin is honest and real in her interview and I want everyone who reads this to gain an understanding of how tough this gig really is!
Take it away Caitlin…
WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO BECOME A NURSE?
I was always interested in how the human body worked and loved to learn as much as I could. I originally thought I wanted to study psychology, then physiotherapy, then medicine. I started off studying a Bachelor of Medical science however after one semester decided it wasn’t for me – I wanted to do more of the ‘hands on’ things, rather than learn about chemistry or physics. I also thought if I did nursing I’d always have a job, there were so many different avenues I could take with it, and it was a job I could travel with.
HOW DIFFICULT WAS THE PROCESS TO BECOME REGISTERED?
The actual registration process was not difficult – it was simply a matter of handing in a couple of documents to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) after completing my degree. All in all, it probably took a couple of weeks – months for the registration to come through. I think the process of doing the degree was more difficult – particularly having to do the clinical placements. Clinical placements are like ‘work experience’ that you have to do in different specialities of nursing as part of the degree – for example, I had placements in mental health nursing, children’s nursing, emergency nursing, and so on.
IS WORKING IN A HOSPITAL AS GLAMOROUS AS THEY MAKE OUT ON TV?
Definitely not! Although there can still be eye candy like there is on the tv shows – (my boyfriend is studying to be a doctor so I have to say that hehe). But with regard to other aspects – not really. Nursing can be both a rewarding and a very challenging job – some days can be filled with a wide variety of bodily fluids and some of these do not end up in places they are meant to go! I’ll leave it there before it gets too graphic.
WHAT’S ONE ISSUE YOU THINK AFFECTS NURSES THE MOST AT WORK?
Stress and burnout I think is a major issue that affects a lot of nurses at work. Most people go into the profession to care for others, and I think when they see the reality of what it can be like – inadequate staffing, heavy workload, shiftwork, dealing with grief and loss – it can sometimes be disheartening. That being said, all jobs involve stress to some degree and it’s about how you deal with it that really counts! Undergoing these challenges can be an opportunity to make you stronger.
WHAT’S A CHALLENGE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME WORKING AS A NURSE?
I think that anxiety was one of the most prominent issues that nursing forced me to tackle ‘head-on’. When I first started nursing, I felt conflicted as I always wanted to do a ‘perfect’ job, and do the best by my patients. Yet I had to quickly accept that sometimes the best job you can do is limited by the resources and the time you have. I also had to learn that any mistakes that happen in healthcare are not the ‘fault’ of one person – many people are involved in looking after one patient and when anything goes wrong it’s more about systems failing rather than individuals failing. I found working in intensive care particularly challenging – a lot of the time I would go to work and think “what if this happens, what if that happens”, and constantly imagine the worst case scenarios happening. Working in nursing made me more aware of my thinking, how this type of thinking was not helpful, and that I had the ability to change my own thoughts. Through this journey, I also learned that you must nurture/take care of yourself first before you can look after others.
HOW DID YOU COPE WITH THE HOURS?
Personally, I did not cope well with shiftwork – I am someone that needs 8-10 hours sleep a night otherwise I become very grumpy! I found the night shifts particularly challenging – after working from 9:30 pm-7:30am I would come home and only manage to sleep about four hours before waking up. And I’d have to do that four times in a row. However, that is the great thing about nursing – after learning more about myself and accepting that I didn’t like working overnight, I changed to community nursing. This meant I didn’t have to work any more night shifts however still had to work occasional weekends. As working weekends sometimes meant I couldn’t attend social outings I began looking at another avenue of nursing – it was then that I became a research nurse where I now work Monday to Friday. I couldn’t be more happy with my hours now!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO MAY BE CONSIDERING A CAREER IN NURSING?
For someone considering studying nursing, I’d say… Nursing exposes you to so many different scenarios, people, stories, and experiences. It broadens your understanding of people and the world in a way that many other professions do not. As a result of this exposure, it can bring on a broad spectrum of emotions – nursing can bring happiness, sadness, anger, and stress. You can see people at their sickest, their most vulnerable, families having the worst day of their lives – but on the other side of it you can see how the smallest kind action can make someone’s day or the satisfaction that comes with seeing someone get better and knowing you played a part in that. In dealing with these challenges it always important to openly acknowledge how you are feeling and debrief with either colleague or seek other help when necessary
+ THE SPEEDY SIX:
FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT IN SYDNEY: When I’m feeling fancy: Cho Cho San in Potts Point. The pork katsu buns and sashimi ocean trout are to die for. When I’m feeling cheap: The Empire Hotel @ Annandale – $12 schnittys on Fridays!
FAVOURITE BAR: Since I Left you – tried it not long ago and it loved it! Goros in Surry Hills is also pretty fun.
FAVOURITE SPOT IN SYDNEY: Anywhere with a beach; I especially love Freshwater Beach, Coogee Beach and ‘Bay lane’ near Gunnamatta Bay
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO: My Spotify is full of a mixture of things.. from Zara Larrsen to Justin Bieber to Diplo and Nicki Minaj
THE LAST BOOK YOU READ: ‘Half the Sky’ by Nicholas D.Kristoff
YOUR LIFE MOTTO: “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”- Shakespeare
That’s a wrap of our first tgfs x who’s that girl!
If you’d love to ask any other questions to Caitlin or about being featured, feel free to reach out in the comments below.
To finish up, I’ll leave you with these wise words from Pele:
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do”