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A quick chat with… a nurse unit manager

What is your name, where are you based?

Rachel Smyth, Redcliffe Hospital – Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

What hospital do you work at and what do you do there?

I am currently the acting nurse unit manager of the Medical Assessment Unit and Coronary Care/High Care Medical Unit.

What is your educational background?

I completed my undergraduate nursing degree at the Australian Catholic University. Last year I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing, and I’m currently studying toward a Masters in Advance Practice Nursing through QUT.

Why did you choose this career path?

I remember contemplating a handful of career paths in high school all of which involved people, health, medicine or some form of biology, leading me to the path of nursing – which to my delight incorporated it all. Not long after I enrolled, I discovered the diversity of nursing careers and pathways. I could see that nursing wasn’t just one job; it was an opportunity to be involved in a career that can take me to endless places giving me the chance to make even the smallest difference to endless lives.

What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

One thing I have learnt throughout my career in medical nursing is that there is no typical day on the job. Every day brings something new: new people, new challenges and new opportunities. The phone will always ring, the meetings will always continue, there will be continual reprioritisation and adaptation to the changing environment with the patient always as the priority.

What’s the best footwear for a day on your feet?!

My Sketchers!

What advice would you give to nurses entering the profession?

It’s okay not to know everything. Learning from experience, positive and negative, help us become better at what we do.

What is the next step for you in your nursing career?

My nursing career has so far led me through the roles of clinical nurse, clinical nurse consultant, and now acting nurse unit manager – giving me incredible opportunities to develop as a clinical leader.

This experience has uncovered my passion for education and patient safety, which I would like to pursue further as my career progresses.

What are your three favourite films?

The Dressmaker

Dirty Dancing

Matilda (Childhood favourite!)

What’s the best holiday you’ve been on?

My last holiday which was spent relaxing in Bali with my best friend!

What’s your ideal meal?

My mum’s famous home cooked roast!

What’s your ultimate day off activity?

Volleyball down at the beach with friends.

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