Welcome to the first of our ‘Day in the Life of …’ series, where we showcase the diversity of Australian nurses, their amazing nursing careers and the incredible skills they have. At uPaged, we’re all about celebrating our colleagues’ successes, keeping it real, and inspiring nurses who are considering casual nursing, that anything is possible, by profiling other nurses who‘ve already done it.
Nurses choose casual and on-demand work for many reasons: this week we’re delighted to profile the lovely Abigail Dixon – a 3rd year Registered Nurse who juggles casual nursing shifts and full-time study (just not the type of study you’d expect of nurse … watch out Broadway!) Say hello to the delightful Abby!
Name: Abby Dixon
Why did you choose nursing as a career? For flexibility and love
How long have you been doing casual shifts? 1 year
Which has been your best nursing job ever, and why? There have been too many departments to choose just one, but I especially loved my time working at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) in Sydney. The autonomy I had and the support from other nursing staff was tremendous.
What do you love about being a nurse? Interacting with people and hopefully brightening their day, particularly if their circumstances are pretty grim.
What is your proudest nursing moment? Recognising the decline in a vitally stable patient and preventing an internal bleed would certainly be up there. Also, just generally building rapport with long-stay patients – lifting their spirits and encouraging their safe and rapid recovery makes me really proud to be a nurse.
What do you like least about your nursing job? Night shift! Getting lost in places when you haven’t had a formal orientation is also on the list.
What is your advice for nurses considering casual / on-demand / agency nursing work? The flexibility is great. Always go to work with focus and a positive attitude and try and make buddies with the full-time staff. It makes the return to that ward a whole lot easier. Also changing wards and departments keeps you on your toes and makes sure you continue to brush up on your skills.
What is something about you that your nursing colleagues don’t know? I travel back and forth from Brisbane to Sydney for work.
What is your side hustle / other job / passion outside of nursing / life like outside of nursing …? This year I have started studying musical theatre full-time at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University. It’s a 3-year bachelor’s degree.
What the biggest challenge you face doing this? Time management and juggling nursing shifts, social life and other commitments.
What or who inspired you to pursue musical theatre? It’s always been my dream and nursing was my plan for backup (which I love equally as much). I am very fortunate to be able to enjoy both careers simultaneously while keeping my routine interesting and fun.
What is your top tip for someone wanting to do the same? Apply, and work hard. Get yourself a diary! Stay healthy, and get plenty of sleep so that a change of state, scenery, time of day, social interaction and terminology doesn’t confuse you or cause you to be in a permanent state of jet lag! It’s tricky to coordinate at first but it can be done, trust me!
What’s a Day in the Life of Abby like? A hectic Uni workload means I can’t pick up casual nursing shifts Monday through Thursday but on a typical Friday, I’ll have a lie-in until 8:00 am, followed by a hearty breakfast. After that, I settle a few things on the to-do list, do a grocery shop and get bits and bobs done before I head off to Uni for a 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm acting class and a voice class. Sometimes I might stay on for an optional 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm dance class. I usually get back home around 7:00 pm after dance class or extra study. I’ll then grab a light dinner, have a quick snooze for an hour and a half and then shower, and then it’s off to night shift for me! It’s a big day, but the adrenalin pushes me through, and of course, I get a glorious sleep in on Saturday mornings!
How do you de-stress from the juggle of everything you do? A long soak in the bath with a tonne of Epsom salts (while listening to Judy Garland).
If you weren’t scared, what would you do? I’d work in the Emergency Department.
Who is your role model? Julie Walters and Renee Zellwegger.
Who or what keeps you motivated? My fantastic partner and my peers at University.
What made you laugh today? The dog I am currently living with.
Favourite holiday destination? Ireland
What’s your special talent, quirk, party trick or special sauce? My impression of Snow White.
Favourite coffee/tea / after-work tipple: Any form of coffee with full cream milk!
What’s the quote you live by? “Shoot for the moon – even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
If you’d like to follow Abby on Insta you can do so here, or find Abby on Facebook here.
Are you a registered nurse (RN or EEN) who works agency shifts while you’re working on your side hustle or building your business? Maybe you’re working agency shifts to supplement your income in addition to your permanent hospital job? If so, we’d love to profile you in our ‘day in the life of …’ series.
We’re looking for registered nurses who work/have worked agency shifts in Australian hospitals, to feature in an educational series about what your typical day is like on shift as an agency nurse while managing the juggle.
Nurses can be from any speciality, any level of experience, and you may remain anonymous if you wish. Keen? Please get in touch with email@example.com