Why made you want to become a nurse?
When I was in year 11 at school I decided that I wanted to become a paramedic and my dad suggested that I start with nursing and go from there. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and think nurses can play a big part. There are so many different areas you can work in and medical ailments to learn about. I also like some of the roles that you can get in nursing and nowadays there are so many different avenues you can take.
What do you love most about your job?
No one day is the same. A patient may have the same symptoms as someone the day before, but the care, history or interventions will never be the exact same. I also really like working as part of a team and we work well with the doctors.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
The hardest thing is seeing people at their worst and seeing families upset. When you’ve got a sick patient and you are dealing one on one with them, I think we [nurses] become a bit immune to that - because we have to. But when you start seeing relatives - mums and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces - that’s when it becomes real and you might start to imagine your own family in that situation. It's also very difficult seeing really sick kids, because they still have a lot of life to be lived. That’s a really tough thing to see.
You learn how to deal with it. I think the camaraderie in emergency always helps. If we have a crazy busy day the one thing that’ll keep me going is everyone else’s attitude. I suppose you do learn to deal with a lot of instances or scenarios and most of the time you can learn to switch that part of your brain off so you can do the job at hand. But if you can’t or you’re struggling to, then we know to get help and to seek help when we need it.
"It's very difficult seeing really sick kids, because they still have a lot of life to be lived. That’s a really tough thing to see."
What drew you to working in the emergency ward?
There’s a huge adrenalin rush when someone comes through those doors. You don’t know what you’re going to get, and that’s what we all thrive on. There’s a huge buzz in emergency during every shift. No matter how quiet it is at one stage, it’ll be crazy the next.
Do you think TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and ER give a good insight into hospital life?
They can portray it to a degree. I think in those shows there’s a buzz which is real and you see the medical team working together. But the drama is not real. You don’t really get much drama in real life because most people work together pretty cohesively. You’d probably find more drama amongst the doctors who might disagree with some type of intervention.
Is there a Derek and Meredith?
[Laughs}. No. Not that I know of. But there are couples.
"There’s a huge adrenalin rush when someone comes through those doors. You don’t know what you’re going to get and that’s what we all thrive on."
What makes a good patient?
A good patient is someone that appreciates what we do. Just a simple thank you.
Which patients do you enjoy spending the most time with?
I love a good chat with the dementia patients. They say some pretty funny things and it's nice to try and make them laugh, but often they are the ones making me laugh.
Where would we find you on your day off?
Hopefully on a sunny day taking my dog out for an adventure, getting a good coffee, and hanging out with friends, family and my girlfriend Liv. And eating good food! But I don’t have much spare time at the moment as I’m training for an Iron Man. That takes up to six days a week, which I also need to juggle with uni and work.
"I love a good chat with the dementia patients. They say some pretty funny things and it's nice to try and make them laugh, but often they are the ones making me laugh."
I’m supposed to be training up to six days a week but its quite challenging to include that with full-time work and study. The sessions will include a combination of swimming, running and cycling. I swim for just over an hour, then cycle and run for two and a half to three hours, and then it might be a long cycle up to five hours in another training session.
What is the motivation for wanting to complete such a hardcore endurance challenge?
The idea of wanting to do an Iron Man first came to me a couple of years ago when a woman that I work with was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. About one year after her diagnosis she completed an Iron Man event despite being quite disabled at the time. That really inspired me.
"About one year after her diagnosis with motor neuron disease she completed an Iron Man event despite being quite disabled at the time. That really inspired me."
How long is the Port Macquarie Iron Man you are taking part in?
The swim is 3.8km, bike is 180km and run 42km... I will have 17 hours to complete that!
Did you know that Turia Pitt is also going to be partaking in the same Iron Man as you, her first Iron Man ever?
Wow, I didn’t know that. Hopefully I get the chance to run or cycle alongside her!
I've seen your Portraiture on instagram and it's really cool. What draws you to taking photographs of people?
I like taking portraits of people because I think by taking their photograph you can tell what type of person they are.
"Whether I ask to photograph them or take it without them knowing, I try to capture the beauty of humans."
What are you trying to capture in each photograph?
I try to capture real-life moments. For me this is when the camera goes into their daily life, rather than staging a photo. Whether I ask to photograph them or take it without them knowing, I try to capture the beauty of humans.
For more of Ryan's portraiture, go to https://www.instagram.com/ryanmpascoe/