USC student takes to the skies with Flying Doctors

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USC student takes to the skies with Flying Doctors


USC Fraser Coast Nursing student Jeannie Fortune

19 October 2017

USC Fraser Coast Nursing student Jeannie Fortune has ended her studies on a high with a clinical placement as a flight nurse with the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

The former hairdressing manager, who is in the final semester of a Bachelor of Nursing Science at USC Fraser Coast, said the two-week placement was a valuable learning experience – with an added bonus.

“I will never fear flying again after working in a confined space with limited equipment and trying to write reports in turbulent conditions,” Jeannie, 45, said.

As a flight nurse, Jeannie was responsible for in-flight patient comfort and support, including observations, initiating oxygen levels in response to altitude changes, and detailed handovers of patient information to the Queensland Ambulance Service.

“The staff at RFDS’s Rockhampton base shared a wealth of knowledge and skills with me, and I came to appreciate how this service is a lifeline for many people living remotely.”

Jeannie said experiencing the realities of rural nursing for her final placement complemented the wide range of clinical experience she had gained during her degree.

Her other placements included aged care, medical and surgical care, community and allied health and anaesthetic nursing.

 “I am looking forward to getting into the workforce and advancing my clinical knowledge, skills and practice and ultimately caring for the people who need it most,” she said.

Jeannie, who emigrated to Australia from Scotland 10 years ago and previously managed a hair salon in Sydney, said she had only ever wanted to do two careers –  hairdressing and nursing.

“I grew up in an area just outside Glasgow which still holds the title of most deprived area in Scotland, and left school at 15 with no qualifications, so hairdressing was my only option.

“Nursing was always in the back of my mind so when my husband left the Navy and we decided to move to Hervey Bay, I thought if I didn’t do it now I never would.”

Jeannie described her experience at USC Fraser Coast as fantastic. “The staff are friendly, approachable and extremely supportive and I am grateful for the time they give to each student.”

People in the Fraser Coast region who are interested in studying at USC can go to 

— Clare McKay

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