“After 17 years working as an Enrolled Nurse (EN), I wanted a change in my career and I knew that in order to do that, I needed a degree to become a Registered Nurse (RN). I was looking at two universities - one with a two year program and CSU’s three-year full-time Bachelor of Nursing. I compared course outlines and weighed up the time it would take me to finish versus the knowledge I would gain with a slightly longer program. Even though it would take me longer to finish with CSU, I chose CSU for the reason of a better course outline. I began my degree as a mid-year student, which was great because I didn’t have to wait until the following year to apply.
“I was exempt from certain subjects because I was already a nurse, and I was able to study on campus and online. I enjoyed the ability to be flexible with my studies, as I was a mature age student with a young family, whilst working three days a week at a local hospital.
“I was able to do placements close to home and each placement opportunity challenged me to change my thinking from an EN focus to an RN focus. My favourite placement was my mental health experience. I had the opportunity to experience time in community mental health and through this I now have a completely different outlook on mental health and still have a passion for it even though I did not specialise in it.
“I’m currently working in Aboriginal Health as a Chronic Disease Team Leader for Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Services and a Chronic Care Coordinator for Murray and Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network. My roles in chronic disease have taken my work to a state level where I have been involved in cancer strategic planning for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people through the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council. I’m also on the advisory committee for the national chronic disease project Better cardiac care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“My motto is, ‘I’ll have a crack at it,’ and that’s exactly what I did with my degree. There were times when I felt like giving up, but I wanted the photo wearing the cap and gown on graduation day and the only way to get that photo was to finish the degree - so I did. The key is to be organised and dedicated. I had a white board that I wrote every assignment on, when it was due, how many words it was, and when the exam was so I could keep track of everything. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be a university graduate, let alone be in a position to have regular meetings with both NSW and VIC Health and be in a position to advocate for patients.”