Alex from the Philippines

Find out about Alex's journey as a nursing student in Adelaide and how her practical placements are helping to prepare her for work after graduation.

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7 May 2024

Profile picture of nursing student Alex from the Philippines

I'm Alex from the Philippines. I came to Australia to study nursing in Adelaide at the University of South Australia (UniSA). I am currently in my third year as a nursing student.  

Living in Adelaide 

When I first arrived in Australia, it was daunting and nerve-wracking. I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going.  

I did lots of research prior to flying to Australia, but I still had so much to learn about the country. However, as I became more familiar with my new city, Adelaide, I found it to be an exciting place to live. There are always new places to go to, food to try and people to meet.  

In Adelaide, I have found support systems from my university, friends, employers and StudyAdelaide. This made settling in so much easier and I now consider Adelaide to be my home away from home. 

Nursing courses in Australia 

The main reason I chose Australia for my undergraduate degree is because of the quality of the nursing education system.  

There is a vast difference between nursing schools in my home country and here. At UniSA, the education system for nursing has a strong focus on placements and providing clinical and hospital experience to prepare us to graduate as Registered Nurses.  

Australian universities are passionate, focused, and dedicated to shaping the world’s future nurses. I am impressed by how the Australian community and government value nurses. I've always believed that nurses are the heart of the hospital and going into placements confirmed this for me. 

Aged care placement 

I've had three placement experiences so far. My first one was at an aged care setting at Allity Little Para, Elizabeth. As first year students, we were taught about patient care and forming professional relationships to provide holistic and patient-centred care.  

Going into an aged care placement as a first-year student is a great way to build a foundation around basic nursing skills such as taking vital signs, which is the most important skill a nurse should have. 

The staff were supportive, and I was also able to form proper relationships with them, which helped me to deliver better care.  

Surgical ward placement for older adults 

Going into my second year, I was given the opportunity to have my placements under the Ashford Specialty Stream. These placements are only offered to a select few students that go through an application process. With this program, I was able to choose the specialty I wanted to go into.  I chose the surgical specialty stream.  

The placement was in a medical/surgical ward where most of the patients were older adults who came in for both acute and chronic conditions.  

With a patient load of 7-8, this placement helped to develop my time management skills. It gets busy in a hospital ward which can become stressful. Looking after your patients is a critical job that comes with many responsibilities, and you need to ensure their safety at all times. 

Surgical ward placement for pre and post operative patients 

In my third year, I was placed in a surgical ward that focuses on pre-operative and post-operative patients who are placed under a general anesthetic.  

This was my best placement experience because I was able to go deeper into my critical thinking skills. Most patients are short stays, so you receive many new patients throughout the day. What made it interesting was the different surgical patients I got to look after and how it improved my knowledge in women's health with the gynecological patients.  

My most memorable experiences 

My most memorable experiences were looking after our critical care patients. Many of the patients had post-surgical complications, and in these cases, we needed to call the medical emergency team to help. These experiences really solidified my passion for surgical nursing.  

My next placement will be in peri-operative nursing where I'll be on rotation as a scrub nurse, recovery nurse and anesthetic nurse. My goal has always been to work in the operating theatre, so I am looking forward to my next placement. 

Advice for aspiring nurses 

To international students eager to study nursing in Australia, it’s important to know that it doesn't come without challenges. I think what makes you successful in nursing is your passion and commitment to lifelong learning.  

What got me through my first 3 years of nursing was my curiosity and willingness to learn. Even when things get hard and assignments and exams pile up, I always remind myself that I'm doing this for me, so I can be the nurse I want to be.  

The same should go for you - remind yourself that there will undoubtedly be many hurdles, but that this is so you can be the best nurse you can be.  

Other than that, you'll have many support systems here - friends, fellow classmates, your tutors, and even your family back home.  

You got this Future RN!  


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