This is Carol. She is very modest and doesn’t like to gloat about what she has achieved in her short nursing career so far. Luckily for me, she is a good friend and I know the word ‘coffee’ will get her to do pretty much anything.
Carol is a graduate nurse in Darwin. She is into her second rotation in the Rapid Assessment & Planning Unit (RAPU). After spending 6 months in the Constant Care Unit, Carol is already an old hand at dealing with the many personalities of nursing and is working towards becoming the queen of time management. But what makes her super special, is her role outside the hospital, as Co-Founder of ASANNA. ASANNA is an up and coming organisation established to provide support & advocacy for students and early career nurses.
Prior to starting her Bachelor degree, Carol spent a year working at Mittagundi, an outdoor education centre which aims to challenge young people and promote team work. Armed with the belief that ‘a group of people with a common goal can do anything’, Carol was shocked to see that the overall culture of nursing didn’t represent this. Nursing is a career of constant giving and it is sad to see that nurses give everything they can to make people better, yet are not cared for themselves. Through working on the board of the NRHSN as a student, attending conferences and various nursing trips to bush dances, Alice Spring & Indigenous festivals, Carol noticed common issues faced by student and early career nurses. The phrase ‘nurses eat their young’ popped up several times, as well as the lack of new graduate positions, the amount of nurses who leave the career within the first 5 years of practice, just to name a few.
ASANNA came about when a mutual friend, introduced Carol to Steph (other Co-founder & equally amazing person), as they shared such similar views and ideas. Turned out the pair had already met and spoken about the issues facing student and graduate nurses, however this time they continued to discuss ideas back and forth via email until again meeting at an ICN conference in 2013. This is where ASANNA was officially born to the public. Carol presented a talk about the issues facing student and novice nurses, an obvious passion of hers. She describes an exciting buzz in the room at the time and the conclusion was made that a national student body was the first step in the process.
Unbeknown to everyone around them, Carol & Steph had already been planning a national body. Steph had recently written a position paper on the representation or lack of representation across Australia specifically for student nurses. And through hard work and resilience as well as presenting in the USA, this productive pair of nurses have just hosted ASANNA’S first Council of Representatives & Executive seminar. From this ASANNA is moving into further development phases of an organisation. ASANNA is already representing student and novice registered nurses on the Close the Gap steering committee and is a member of CoNNO (Council of National Nursing Organisations).
On a personal level Carol continues to work towards finishing her new graduate year and is unclear where the next five years will take her. What she does know is that in five years time she wants to be a skilled and competent nurse, who maintains her idealism about what nursing can be and doesn’t lose that friendless towards people. Throw in there the desire to try emergency, midwifery, rural and remote and some Overseas aid work, the opportunities are endless!
For more information on ASANNA check them out on Facebook or the website http://www.asanna.com.au