Turning lives around

My love of the nursing profession just grows and grows. It's not what I do, it's what I am

As a little girl, I'd always dreamed of becoming a Red Cross nurse. I have lots of photos of me dressed up in the old fashioned nursing uniform of white pinafore and cap with the big red cross on the front.

"My story of becoming a nurse really began in 2009 after escaping an extremely violent 10-year marriage with two of my three children. I was penniless and jobless, and very much alone. However, looking back, that was the turning point in my life.

"My climb to where I am now began with an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) course in 2010 to attain my Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged Care). I eventually scored a job in a nursing home in 2012, and was there for two years. During this time I watched the registered nurses (RNs) like a hawk, absorbing everything they did.

"I befriended one of the RNs who motivated me to further pursue my career. She told me she thought I'd make a great nurse one day. I followed her advice and registered my interest with Hunter TAFE to enrol in future EN courses. I was quite prepared to take a loan to fund the course.

"In 2013, I saw an ad in the paper for EN scholarships. Around the same time I received an email from Hunter TAFE inviting me to apply for a scholarship. I did – and I was successful. This was indeed a gift and one that I fully appreciated. This would save me thousands of dollars and remove the stress of paying back a loan. It would also set me on track with a profession I'm meant to be part of, and in the process finally give me the independence to provide for myself and my family.

"Another lovely surprise was that the scholarship not only paid for the course, but also provided my text books plus a nursing pack which consisted of stethoscope, fob watch, sphygmomanometer cuff, pen torch, sanitising hand gel and bum bag. It sort of felt like Christmas!

"On 28 April 2014 I was sitting in the classroom for my first lesson. That was also the day I met Kate, one of my teachers. To this day I doubt Kate ever realised the impact she had on me, or where I'd come from just to get to that point. I guess this part of my story is also a tribute to her and her teachings. My other teachers were all just as talented and experienced, but somehow Kate really resonated with me. She even made the legal side of nursing sound interesting! I hungrily absorbed everything that Kate taught me. Each time I mastered something, she'd raise the bar even higher. I can honestly say that's why I'm in the job I love today.

"On 12 October 2015 I commenced my job in the Cardiac Unit at Wyong Hospital. I now work with an amazing bunch of nursing staff, all willing to help me learn and grow. In the short time I've been there I've learnt and experienced so much, and I've been able to implement what I learned at TAFE. (even those bloody "dots" on the medication charts that Kate was so incessant about, are now an integral part of my nursing practice.) Each work shift is a wonderful experience with new challenges to be met and new techniques to master. I've also registered my interest in attending a Cardiac Nurses Course in March, and a Wound Care Course in November.

"My love of the nursing profession just grows and grows. It's not what I do, it's what I am. And thanks to the scholarship (and Kate) my future, which not so long ago, looked bleak with no direction, is now something I can look forward to with heartfelt gratitude and excitement. Who knows, one day, it may even include a Bachelor of Nursing Degree."

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