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Our Alumni at work

By Patrick Nelson

Dale Tschirpig … “Nursing gives me an opportunity to help people when they need it most” Dale Tschirpig … “Nursing gives me an opportunity to help people when they need it most”

DALE TSCHIRPIG is well organised, adaptable and works well under pressure. They’re valuable skills to have when you work in a hospital’s emergency department as Dale has been for the past eight months in Alice Springs. In 2012 Dale completed a Bachelor of Nursing at CDU. Last year he completed a graduate nursing program and this year he has enrolled in a post-graduate program. When time permits, you will find him supporting undergraduates at Alice Springs campus during their clinical training blocks.


What prompted you to pursue a career in nursing?
I had been working in Katherine Hospital as a clerk and patient care assistant, where I received a lot of support and encouragement from the Emergency Department and Renal Ward staff. It seemed like the logical next step.

Tell a little about your arrival in the NT and your time in Katherine.
Originally a Queensland boy, I visited my Dad in Katherine. It was supposed to have been a two-week holiday but I ended up staying for seven years. The opportunities for fishing and camping appealed to me and made it hard to leave.

What prompted your move to Alice Springs?
I moved to Alice to complete my Graduate Nursing Program at Alice Springs Hospital. It is a bigger hospital (than Katherine) and manages a broader range of illness and injury, both acute and chronic. I was also grateful to no longer have to suffer the build-up.

Describe a typical shift in the emergency department.
A shift starts with the hand-over of existing patients. I’ll undertake a baseline check on everyone to make sure they are all comfortable (regarding pain). When a bed becomes available it is prepared for the next patient, whose complaint could range from a stubbed toe to a heart attack and everything in between. As a junior registered nurse, the emergency department is ideal because I see everything, do everything and work with an amazing group of people who always are there when you need a hand.

What has surprised you most about working in a regional hospital?
Even though the hospital is a transient place for nurses, the proficiency of staff to work as a team is very high. The quality of friends I’ve made makes me feel as though I have known them for many years.

What do you find most challenging about your profession?
As a junior registered nurse I am still seeing a lot of presentations for the first time, some of which are quite confronting. Fortunately, the skills and knowledge taught in the undergraduate and graduate programs have given me the confidence to rely on my judgment to ensure the best outcome for the patient.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about undertaking a Bachelor of Nursing?
Be a sponge and soak up as much information on placements and teaching blocks as you can. And when you graduate continue to be a sponge. Never worry about asking a “dumb” question because there is no such thing.

If you were not a nurse, what would you do instead?
Everyone else in the family is a tradie, so I probably would just join the crew.

What interests you apart from your work?
My girlfriend Danielle and I like to go camping and explore the (Red) Centre. I spend some Sundays at the local archery club, depending on my work roster.

What is the best advice you have received and who offered it?
“Use your judgment but don’t be judgmental” - Jeanette Berthelsen CNM ASH ED

Who or what inspires you?
The people around me inspire me, from family and friends to workmates and patients. Nursing gives me an opportunity to help people when they need it most.

What’s next for Dale Tschirpig?
Juggling work, home and social life with further studies. I have enrolled in CDU’s Graduate Diploma in Emergency Nursing program, which I plan to complete over the next two years.