This week’s interview is with nurse practitioner Lyn Fish, whose career has taken her through hospitals, community health, primary health services, and to jobs on remote industrial projects.
Thanks for joining us today, Lyn. How did your career as a nurse start?
As a younger person I always wanted to be a nurse, at school I was always pretending to operate and patch up my mates! When I was old enough, 18yrs in 1975, I went off to PTS (preliminary training school) at the local public hospital in Hobart, and we had to live in the nurses’ home. What an experience this was, I was terribly home sick and wondered what I was doing here! Unfortunately I ‘failed’ my PTS, so returned home and back to college. Later that year I gained a place at a private hospital in Hobart and off I went.
Now, 40 years on I am a Nurse Practitioner and have been practicing for the last five years in primary health and women’s health, I feel I have reached the pinnacle of my career and my many years of nursing and life experiences have given me the confidence I need to practice safely as a NP.
Why did you choose to be a nurse practitioner?
I have always had a fascination with anatomy and physiology and ‘how our body worked’.
My speciality is Primary Health, this area allow me to use my skills and use preventative medicine.
What would be your one-line ‘sales pitch’ to convince someone to work as an NP?
Just do it! Go with your gut feeling and make it happen. Get some years of practice and experience.
Was there a favourite and/or least favourite position?
Nothing comes to mind. I have enjoyed the many area of nursing I have been exposed to.
What would you do differently if you had the chance to start your career from scratch?
Probably nothing, all my years’ experience has assisted in me being the person I am today.
What job/specialty would you do if you weren’t in your job?
A professional beach bum and an expert fisherperson! Unfortunately doesn’t pay well.
How has the job changed over time?
In my 40 years of nursing I have seen many changes, some for the better some ‘just like re-inventing the wheel’. I think we as a profession have grown
Where do you see your field heading?
I would personally like to see NP’s working in primary health, especially in general practice. There is a huge void nationally; our general practitioners are seeing far more presentation as we become an ageing population. The NP can assist with the load, using advanced clinical and diagnostic skills.
What are some lessons (from the clinical practice perspective) learnt that you would pass on to a trainee?
Use the ‘tools of trade’ you already possess ie all your senses, and your gut instincts. Don’t be afraid to use a ‘hands on approach’, listen to your patient, they will tell you what is wrong.
Tips for training/exams?
Cheat sheets, diagrams, sayings which mean something, make up rhymes for different body systems, i.e. ‘tibs together’.
Additional education/training/courses to consider?
Anything which you believe is right for you and you will take something home from.
Must-have inclusions on a CV
Objective and clear, list all your educational experiences, any skills and accomplishments even if they do not relate to the job, they show initiative! Be positive about yourself and use objective action words, such things as I am able to organise…, I have the ability to ……, I am able to critically analyse…., and give examples.
Tips for interviews
Be prepared, take a folder containing your CV, your selection criteria responses, and any information you have about the organisation you are hoping to work for. Don’t be afraid to look at this if you get ‘stuck’ on a question, it shows initiative! Take your time when you arrive, shake hands and look the interviewers in the eye, smile, show confidence even though you feel nervous as anything!
Career advice for new starters – finding the right job?
Do your research, even volunteer to spend time where you would like to work, ask as many questions as you can. Talk to people ‘in the job role’ you would like.