What is your name, and where are you based?
My name is Jessica Tomkins and I am based in the Metro North Health Service (Qld).
What hospital do you work at and what do you do there?
I work in a small rural hospital in Kilcoy, Queensland. We have only three beds in our Emergency Department and a 20-bed ward.
Nurses at Kilcoy Hospital are ‘Jack of all trades’ nurses who care for general medical and orthopaedic patients, Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) patients to emergency presentations and paediatric patients.
We also do day infusions, Telehealth for both inpatients and outpatients and apply holter monitors via video link with the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
A group of Kilcoy nurses also run an immunisation clinic at Kilcoy State High School. Some of the nurses at Kilcoy Hospital also x-ray.
What is your educational background?
I started my nursing career by wanting to be a paramedic. I applied to do a Bachelor of Clinical Practice (Paramedics) at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, and decided to add in the Bachelor of Nursing as a double degree – just in case. I have never worked as a Paramedic.
After my graduate year at Kilcoy Hospital, I completed my Post Graduate Certificate in Rural and Isolated Practice (RIPRN) which gave me a scheduled medicines endorsement and an Immunisation Practice Nurse Certificate.
Why did you choose this career path?
I feel I did not choose this career path – it really chose me. When applying for my graduate position I actually applied to work at Caboolture Hospital Emergency Department and somewhere along the way that got me a job at Kilcoy Hospital. I am guessing the interviewers were impressed.
What does a typical day on the job look like for you?
There is no set typical day on the job here in Kilcoy, as it is difficult to predict what may walk in through the doors. Each day is busy, challenging and rewarding. An exciting day is when we have helicopter retrievals visit or the birth of an imminent baby.
What do you love about your job and what would you change?
I love the staff here at Kilcoy Hospital. We are all like a little family who support and encourage each other to be the best we can be. I would like to see more nurses from the larger hospitals come to see what Kilcoy Hospital has to offer and bring their knowledge and skills to teach us a few new things, too.
What’s the best footwear for a day on your feet?!
Always thongs! But since they are not very protective I wear a pair of leather Merrells at work.
What advice would you give to nurses entering the profession?
To learn as much as they can from whomever they can and share what they know with others. Each nurse is so unique and we can all learn from one another.
What is the next step for you in your nursing career?
I recently completed a contract in a larger tertiary hospital in the Patient Flow Unit. I really enjoyed that. I also just became a Clinical Nurse with a Research Portfolio and I am hoping this will lead to my team and I to achieve great things together in the near future.
What books are you reading at the moment?
Lately, Zac Power Spy Recruit and Where is the Green Sheep? thanks to my two sons, Charlie and Sebastian.
What are your three favourite films?
Again, lately I have been watching Moana, Finding Nemo, Dory and The Lego Movie. I actually do not mind the Moana obsession my son has at the moment, the music is not too bad!
What was your first concert? And what was your most recent?
First was probably a Hanson concert – and I still love them! The most recent concert was at Christmas. One of the doctors held a party at his place and my husband, Joel, and one of the other nurse’s husbands performed a few cover songs together. I would have to be their biggest fan so I had a great time.
What’s the best holiday you’ve been on?
The best holiday would have to be our wedding in Fiji. All our family and friends were at the same resort for about a week which was so amazing.
What’s your ideal meal?
My mother in law gave my sons a child’s cookbook recently. I am not much of a cook but I have been nailing these children’s recipes. There is a super greens stir fry which is delish and I can make it myself.
What’s your ultimate day off activity?
It starts with a Yowie Coffee in the Yowie Park followed by a run on the Kilcoy Aquatic Centre torpedo!
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