Degree: Bachelor of Nursing
Why did you decide to study nursing?
When I was 7 or 8, my father gifted me a stethoscope and I wrote on it my name, ‘Anna’, not nurse or Doctor Anna, because I wasn’t sure at the time what I wanted to be. I’ve always been interested in healthcare. I have a natural empathetic nature, wanting to care for people, whether the elderly or those who are sick. I just want to care for them and put a smile on their faces. I eventually decided not to study medicine because, as a doctor, you only interact with patients from a distance. I wanted more one-on-one patient care, not just prescribing medication or having short consultations. I wanted to be an emotional support and interact with them, being part of their lives at their most vulnerable time in the hospital when they don’t have family around them.
Why did you decide to study nursing in Australia?
Nursing is a very respected profession here. Of all the countries I researched before moving, Australia was the top country that respected nurses the most, and the healthcare system is really good. I chose the University of Newcastle because I didn’t want anything chaotic like Sydney or Melbourne. I come from a calm, almost country town, not a metro, and I’m more introverted. I didn’t want the competition, all of the people, or the busyness of a large city. NSW is where I wanted to come and Newcastle is such a beautiful place.
Is this your first placement?
This is my third. First year – first semester, there is no placement. Second semester, there is a nursing home placement and second year – first semester, we have hospital placement. People in a normal program are sent to different places and hospitals, often rural, but I chose to be in a collaborative program so I could go to one hospital through all my placements. As an international student, it’s hard to find accommodation and transport back and forth every day but there is a bus that goes past my house to John Hunter Hospital that only takes 20 minutes.
Where do you see yourself after your degree?
My area of interest is not ward nursing. It’s not good or bad, it’s just not made for me. You have to start as a ward nurse before you can be promoted higher, so I’ll definitely start there when I become a registered nurse. My goal is to work in a leadership role, that’s why I’m enrolled in the iLEAD program here at the university, so I can have that on my resume when I graduate. Otherwise, I’m considering a Masters to get into a nurse practitioner role, which would one day enable me to open my clinic.
What are some of your hobbies?
Newcastle is a beautiful city. Whenever I feel stressed after a hectic day of placement, I go to the beach and listen to the sound of waves. Otherwise, I don’t have many hobbies anymore because I’m just too busy, but I enjoy talking to and interviewing people. I’m a host and podcast convener for the UON Student Nurses & Midwives Society. Our first episode launched last month and I interviewed Dr. Michelle Stubbs, who is the Program Coordinator for the Bachelor of Nursing degree. We plan to interview local people linked to nursing, midwifery and John Hunter, then gradually expand all over Australia. My podcast’s name is ‘Between the Flags’. People in nursing know that, similar to the flags at the beach that tell you where it’s safe to swim, between the flags is a term to describe a patient’s vital signs when they are ‘safe’. The yellow region outside the flags requires clinical review and the red region requires rapid response, where a doctor is needed right away. So that’s what inspired the podcast name.
I enjoy being an international student and was lucky enough to receive the South Asia Excellence Scholarship to study nursing here in Newcastle. I think international students like me should get involved and network with others. When you stay at home and don’t step out, you struggle to make friends. I work at a nursing home and as a casual content creator for Navigator, I volunteer at Uni Crew and as a podcast convener. My father used to tell me that opportunity only knocks on your door once; if you take it, you take it, but if you miss it, you miss out, so just take it and be open to where it leads you.