As they gathered alongside one other and smiled happily as the cameras started clicking, their proud expressions were captured forever as they were officially welcomed to the Clarence Valley and introduced to the local community which they are dedicated to helping and protecting.
They are among 600 new registered graduate nurses to start work at public hospitals throughout regional NSW this month, with 18 of them commencing work at Grafton Base Hospital.
The nurses will gain experience in a variety of wards and units including acute and sub-acute wards and general medical, surgical and operating theatres, emergency, paediatrics and renal dialysis with several of them to also undertake shifts at Maclean District Hospital.
As Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis welcomed the group to the local region during a special meeting on February 23, he acknowledged their worth and value to the community and expressed his hopes for many of them to remain at Grafton Base Hospital on a permanent basis as their careers progress.
“Grafton has so much to offer, it’s a great place to live” he said encouragingly.
“You’ll deal with everyday illnesses that befall us in our regional communities, and for that, I thank you.”
Mr Gulaptis also spoke of the $270 million refurbishment of Grafton Base Hospital set to get underway in the near future and said the Nationals are committed to building new medical facilities, adding the new registered graduate nurses will be “at the heart of them.”
“In other words, Grafton Base Hospital will literally grow with you as your careers progress,” he said.
“It’s terrific that you’re in Grafton and we welcome you to our community which you are now a part of.”
Chloe Walters, one of the new registered graduates who is originally from Blacksmiths near Newcastle, said she has been made to feel welcome by the local community and Grafton reminds her a lot about her hometown.
After completing a Bachelor of Nursing degree at Newcastle University, the bubbly 22-year-old said she was happy to return to the Clarence Valley to progress her career after previously spending time in Grafton during a five-week placement as part of her studies.
Inspired to pursue a medical career after spending time in hospital as a young girl and watching the loving support and care her family members received in nursing homes, Miss Walters said being able to see how nurses cared for their patients and their loved ones showed her how rewarding the occupation is and describes it as a purposeful job to go into.
Crediting her educators at Grafton Base Hospital for their incredible support, Miss Walters said she has learned so much more during her placement compared to studying during her university classes.
“It’s just amazing to learn so much and to gain valuable experience while working with people and the support we’re all receiving is great,” she said.
Miss Walters is planning a career in paediatrics and loves working with children.
“Spending time with them, you get to see their imaginations,” she said happily.
“It’s so sad to see sick children and their parents and what they’re going through, but to be able to put a smile on their faces makes such a big difference in their day and that’s something which is really special.”
Crediting Rhys Armstrong, Clinical Nurse Educator and Staff Developer Manager for his ongoing support, Miss Walters said she was happy to travel anywhere outside of Newcastle to further her experience and is very open to working in a rural or regional hospital as her career expands.