Registered Nurse, Counties Manukau District Health Board
Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing)
Nursing is a career like no other, says Rachel Biggelaar who is a Registered Nurse working in orthopaedic operating theatres.
“As a nurse, you will never have two days that are the same. Having the ability to comfort and care for patients and their families is highly rewarding, however it can also be very challenging. Each day when I walk into the hospital to start my shift, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives.
“I began my nursing career as a theatre nurse. When I was a student, I was fortunate enough to spend time in various operating theatres and I was instantly captivated by the environment. As a theatre nurse, I can support patients when they’re at their most vulnerable and provide care that is both patient-centred and technologically sophisticated. While my primary speciality is orthopaedics, I’m often presented with the opportunity to further enhance my scope and work in other surgical specialties including plastics, hands, burns, general surgery and gynaecology. Being a nurse in this setting is both empowering and enlightening, and once you find your niche in the medical world, the prospects are endless.”
Supported to succeed
She would highly recommend the Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing) to other students, Rachel says.
“Nursing is a multifaceted and highly dynamic career that provides you with an opportunity to specialise in several sectors of health.”
When she was a student at AUT, she thoroughly enjoyed the labs and clinical placements.
“During time spent on campus, we were able to learn about a vast range of acute and chronic medical scenarios and were able to simulate these case studies in our labs. Amalgamating these practical skills and applying them to real-life situations when I was on placement was one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of my studies.”
Advice for other students
Your time spent at university is instrumental in establishing the foundations for your future career, Rachel advises other students.
“As well as taking an academic approach, I encourage students to ‘say yes’ to new experiences that will enable you to grow and develop as a person. Come to university with an open mind and embrace every aspect you can – be inquisitive, be proactive, be appreciative and most importantly, be yourself.”
This year Rachel will complete her Postgraduate Certificate in Health Science and she reminds us that it’s important to make time for yourself.
“You’re investing a lot of time into your studies, and it is easy to get caught up in a cycle of endless assignments and exams. Embarking on your university adventure can be extremely daunting and at times overwhelming. Ensure you take time for yourself to keep grounded and spend time with the people who make you happy.”