Connected Conversations | Elyce Kenny
Back in 2008, Elyce Kenny was among the first cohort of undergraduate nursing students at the University of Adelaide. Though she had a successful career in the clinical environment, Elyce always knew her heart was in education. Now, over 10 years later, she’s back at the University teaching our next generation of nurses.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Elyce and I’m a clinical lecturer at the Adelaide Nursing School. In my role, I support undergraduate nursing students while they are out on clinical placement. I don’t think most people truly understand what it is to be a nurse. It is a wonderful, demanding, emotional, challenging, and a highly-skilled role that requires the best of ourselves to ensure we are providing safe and timely patient-centred care. It is also about being a part of an amazing team whose shared goal is to always do their best for our patients and their families. There is so much for them to take in and it’s a joy to help them make sense of it all.
I was also a part of the very first cohort of undergraduate nurses to complete their studies at the University of Adelaide in 2008. There were around 35 of us that graduated that first year. While the course back then meant that we spent three days a week, every week, on clinical placement, after the hard slog of three years of study, we were certainly better people and nurses for it! As an Adelaide Nursing School alumna, and now a staff member, I’m looking to re-engage with our alumni and would love to hear from them! If you’re also a nursing alumnus from the University, please get in touch at email@example.com.
How did you get to where you are today?
After my bachelor degree, I completed my graduate year in Christchurch, New Zealand. After 18 months, I moved back home to Adelaide and then spent the next decade working in the Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Department at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. I was lucky enough to hold many positions within that department such as Associate Nurse Unit Manager, Bone Marrow Transplant Coordinator, and Nurse Educator.
While my work was physically and emotionally demanding, I loved (nearly) every minute of it. I learnt from every single one of my colleagues, patients and their families and will be forever grateful for their lessons. I’m so proud and humbled to have been let into people’s lives at such a vulnerable and uncertain time.
I’ve always had a passion for education and knew that was where I wanted my career to head. When an opportunity to join the clinical lecturer team at the University presented itself, I applied and here we are. Moving from a clinical to academic environment hasn’t been an easy transition and I really do miss the patients, their families, and my old colleagues but I’m excited about this next chapter of my career and am looking forward to seeing where it takes me.
What do you love most about your job?
I love being able to teach the next generation of nurses, to be able to see them grow and develop into, not only wonderful nurses, but exceptional people as well.
Why would you encourage some to pursue a career in health?
A career in health is both rewarding and humbling. We see the best and worst of people and everything in between and I wouldn’t change it for the world. The things that you will learn, not only about health, but about yourself will make you an amazing practitioner. A career in health can also take you anywhere in the world, it’s truly a global career.
What do you do in your spare time?
Working full-time and being a mum, I don’t feel like I have a lot of spare time! But when I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our nearly 3-year-old daughter. I’m also a Tupperware consultant and enjoy getting out and meeting new people through that. It’s something completely different to my day job!
Name three things you won’t forget about the past year…
I won’t forget the experience of working from home and realising that we can work differently and still achieve amazing things together. Taking our daughter out for walks and not being able to play on the playground as it was all taped off. And, that trying to teach students via Zoom with a toddler that also wants to talk to them isn’t my idea of fun!