Career and passion come together

This month, as part of our celebration of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we meet Milly Sneesby, Nurse Practitioner, Palliative Care.

What is a nurse practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is an experienced registered nurse who provides an advanced level of healthcare in a clinical role.

The role was originally designed in response to an increasing demand for healthcare, especially in rural and remote locations where there may be a lack of available health professionals. A nurse practitioner is able to treat medical conditions without the direct supervision of a doctor.

As a nurse practitioner in palliative care, I am able to autonomously perform advanced physical assessments, order diagnostic tests, interpret the results of these tests, initiate referrals to relevant health care providers and prescribe medications and other therapies as needed.

What studies have you undertaken to increase your skills?

To become a nurse practitioner in palliative care you need many years of experience, knowledge and confidence in caring for people at the end of life.

As a registered nurse, I found it frustrating knowing what to do to relieve pain and suffering but being restricted due to the scope of practice. So I chose to attain further qualifications. I have a Masters in Advanced Clinical Education (Nursing) then to become a nurse practitioner I gained a Masters of Nurse Practitioner. The nurse practitioner Masters took two years of full time university study (although I was granted Recognised Prior Learning for research and palliative care).

What led you toward nursing as a career?

It is a beautiful thing when a career and passion come together.

What does a ‘normal’ work day look like?

Every day is different for a nurse. Every person, every family have their own stories and journeys. In nursing there are new challenges every day.

What do you love most about your being a nurse?

It is such a privilege to be a nurse. You have the opportunity to heal the soul, body, mind and heart of patients, their families and ourselves.

What words of wisdom would you bestow on younger nurses?

Know that when you are a nurse, every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours. They may forget your name but they will never forget how you made them feel.