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Olympic shot for Perioperative Nurses Week

Perioperative nurse Paul Adams
Photo: Perioperative nurse Paul Adams
It’s been a big year for Queensland nurse Paul Adams.

Not only did he fulfil his dream of becoming a registered nurse working in perioperative nursing, he also debuted in his first Olympic Games at Rio - representing Australia in skeet shooting, where he placed 19 out of 36 competitors.

As if competing on the world stage wasn’t enough, the 24-year-old is also shining the spotlight on the everyday nursing heroes who perform extraordinary work in operating theatres across Australia, in the lead up to Perioperative Nurses Week from October 9-15.

Paul began work at Redcliffe Hospital earlier this year after spending four years working in theatre at a small private hospital.

While he hasn’t worked many shifts in the past few months due to his Olympic commitments, Paul said he thrives on the acute side of his nursing role.
“It’s almost like construction, especially in orthopaedic surgery where you’ve got all the trays, the hammers and drills,” he said.

“It almost feels like you’re on a construction site working there but obviously you’re working on a person, not a building.”

Health Workforce Australia 2014 figures show males make up about nine per cent of the female-dominated workforce in perioperative nursing. It’s a specialty area that attracts a higher proportion of males than a range of other areas of nursing, such as aged care, community health, paediatrics, practice nursing, child and family health, and maternity care.

Australian College of Perioperative Nurses (ACORN) president Dr Jed Duff said men often see perioperative nursing as an attractive career choice compared to many other specialties.

“One of the major lures is the high-tech environment. Surgery is at the forefront of health care innovation,” he said.

“On any given day as a perioperative nurse you can be working with lasers, robots, 3D printing or a wide range of implantable devices.”

Dr Duff said the profession faces a significant shortage of nurses in the next 10 years as the baby boomers exit into retirement.

“The profession needs to appeal to a much broader range of people, particularly men, if we are going to reach our future recruitment targets.”

For Paul, he plans to continue building on his skills and expertise in perioperative nursing.

He also has his sights set on competing in skeet shooting at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and hopes to take another shot at Olympic glory in Tokyo in 2020.

He’s also considering combining his two passions into one with a career in the Royal Australian Air Force.

“It will really add to my shooting career but also as well to my nursing career,” he said.

“If I go on tours it will be a different aspect and different side of nursing that you really would not see as an everyday person.

“Perioperative nursing is definitely a specialty of nursing that can take you anywhere in the world - it’s amazing.”

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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords