Graduate Enrolled Nurse Grace Sinclair is capable, confident and caring. With the Sunshine Coast Health Precinct set to open its doors in 2017, Grace is one of the many committed nurses and numerous other dedicated healthcare professionals with the skills, training, and education to make the launch a resounding success.
While she might occasionally miss Christmas day with her family, a friend’s birthday party, or even a customary Australia Day BBQ, you can rest assured that Grace will never miss a shift and will be by your, or a loved one’s, bedside in times of need.
Growing up in Toowoomba, far from the hustle and bustle of a busy hospital ward, 22-year-old Grace spent her weekends and school holidays outdoors, chasing the sun and wakeboarding on Somerset Dam in Queensland’s south east.
“I live for the outdoors. I know nothing else,” Grace said. “If we weren’t wakeboarding, we’d be out camping or exploring,” she said.
In 2014, after spending a weekend at Coolum, Grace made the brave decision to move to the Sunshine Coast.
“I just love the lifestyle. I had to live here,” Grace said. “People are always out doing things. The beaches are packed with people; the bikeways are teeming with runners and cyclists; it's so vibrant. I love being active and outdoors, that’s what life on the Sunshine Coast is all about,” she said.
A self-proclaimed 'outdoorsy type’, Grace spends most weekends either at the beach or out hiking up one of the Coast’s picturesque mountain peaks – even though she has a fear of heights.
“Unbridled fear. That’s what I feel when I’m standing at the base of the mountain looking up at what’s ahead of me. My heart rate soars, my palms become clammy and my arms and legs start to tremble. I can only liken it to the same feeling you get before speaking in public.”
“But I love the challenge. I love the feeling of satisfaction I get once I’ve beaten my fear and completed the climb,” she said.
In the same vein, Grace has had to face some of her toughest challenges and fears after making the move to the Sunshine Coast and finding herself jobless in a new city. Twenty years old, unemployed, and with a host of bills to pay, Grace chose to take a risk, climb another mountain, and start a new career in nursing.
“Nursing’s always been something I’ve been interested in, but I was scared that I might not have what it takes to be a good nurse,” Grace said.
Grace put her worries aside and decided to enrol in nursing at TAFE Queensland to see if she had the ability to join one of the most challenging but diverse and rewarding professions in the world.
Like a lot of people, Grace is all too familiar with caring for loved ones coping with serious illnesses. Over the space of three short years, Grace became quite accustomed to the inside of hospitals and nursing homes.
“I listened to them when they needed to talk things through. I became the friendly face next to their bedside, even when they didn’t recognise me. I was there for them no matter what they needed,” Grace said.
After completing her diploma earlier this year, Grace is now a Graduate Enrolled Nurse with Ramsay Health Care working in the Cardiology Ward at the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital in the new Health Precinct at Kawana.
“I care for people who’ve had heart attacks, are having chest pains or any other cardiac related issues,” Grace said.
“I monitor patient’s hearts and report to cardiologists so they can effectively diagnose the disease and determine the most appropriate recovery or management plan.”
“The most important part of my role is to simply support people, be there for them, listen to them, and care for them. But it can be hard sometimes. We’re often caring for people who have received life altering news and we’re their only friend in the room as the doctor tells them their heart is failing.”
“We help them through the shock of it all. We help them work through the fear, uncertainty and doubt of what's next,” she said.
Working at Ramsay, Grace appreciates how lucky she is to work with so many committed and highly skilled nurses. Her skills and training are now second nature and the scared student has blossomed into a capable, confident and caring professional.
“I love nursing. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” Grace said. “To me, Ramsay’s philosophy of ‘People Caring for People’ is what nursing’s all about. I’ll be a nurse forever,” she said.