How a group of nurses turned a pandemic into an opportunity to work and travel across New South Wales.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had a major effect on the Australian Healthcare industry. While some were slammed on the frontline, others were left without any work at all. As elective surgeries closed and hospitals became hesitant to bring in agency nurses, Kemp Recruitment was left searching for work for their staff.
For all the struggles that came during the 2021 lockdown, there were also opportunities. Covid testing clinics were in high demand and became desperate for staff, and when the national vaccine rollout began, healthcare staff were called to help.
Nurses and other healthcare staff began to pivot. Many undertook further training, and others ventured into uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, environments to do their part.
Peri-operative nurse Monique joined the vaccination effort when work in Operating Theatres began to slow down. Together with 6 other immunisation nurses, Monique spent her lockdown traveling across regional New South Wales administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the staff, residents, and families of residential aged care facilities.
We talked to Monique to find out about her experience as part of an immunisation team.
What made you decide to become an immunisation nurse?
With many hospitals in NSW putting a hold on elective surgery, I was losing work quickly. Kemp was seeking expressions of interest in some upcoming regional vaccination work, which I jumped on immediately. I’m now so grateful to have the opportunity to work within an immunisation team.
What training did you undergo to join the immunisation team?
I completed the Covid Vaccination training online, but I have not yet completed the Immunisation course, so I work on the administration team. I completed the online training, did a lot of self-directed learning to understand the computer programs, and then I learnt on the job along with our team.
What made you want to get involved in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout?
I was contacted about this fantastic opportunity through Kemp.
What does an average day look like as a COVID vaccination nurse?
After arrival at the clinic, we go through the check-in process, then set up our area and equipment, don our full PPE and start drawing up vaccines. We greet clients as they arrive and check their consent and details. Then they will see an Immuniser RN for their vaccination before seeing the admin team to have their information put into Medicare. We will then monitor them for 15 minutes to ensure they don’t have any reaction.
Each clinic usually runs for approximately 4 hours, and we will do 1 to 2 clinics per day, depending on travel. Some days can be very busy & issues can arise, but our team is proficient and great at troubleshooting.
Did you face any challenges?
The long drives can be a challenge. Our main priority is that we maintain the cold chain temperature when storing the vaccine, but one of our team members has a system in place for monitoring. We are also very conscious about wastage, so we go above and beyond to ensure we use up all doses of the vaccines - each vial we open contains 6 doses.
As with any job, issues will arise during our working day, however, we are good at problem-solving and we always have a dedicated team leader to turn to - and if we get really stuck, Krista is only a phone call away!
What was a highlight of working on the Kemp Recruitment immunisation team?
I have really enjoyed working in the community. It’s nice to be able to talk to the patients and answer any questions they may have. The travel has been a bonus, getting to explore some of the countrysides and work in different areas of NSW.
Another highlight has been working in our team - I’ve had the opportunity to meet some excellent nurses & great people.
Want to work and travel across Australia?
Give us a call to discuss your options.
(02) 8536 9696