Audrey Morrison, from Krambach, dreamed of being a nurse at high school and, after a 30 year roller-coaster career journey, achieved her goal last year with the support of TAFE NSW and a NSW Health Scholarship.
Audrey, who didn’t complete year 12, worked in positions as various as a barmaid and a farm hand and in workplaces ranging from a cake shop to a nursing home, and spent 17 years of her working life as a medical clerk in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
“I was working part time in administration at TAFE in Taree and was exposed to the wide range of courses on offer,” Audrey said.
“While I was telling potential students about all the benefits and opportunities available to TAFE students, it hit me that I was also a potential student.
“The hardest part was showing confidence in myself to take on the diploma course and working towards that lifelong dream.”
Audrey said working at TAFE led to her finding out about the diploma of nursing (enrolled nurse) scholarships offered by NSW Health, in partnership with TAFE NSW and NSW Health Registered Training Organisation.
The scholarships include a position in the TAFE NSW diploma of nursing program and employment as an enrolled nurse in a NSW health facility.
“I like a challenge and change, and with my children reaching their teens, I thought ‘here is my chance to realise my high school career dream’,” Audrey added.
As a mature age student, Audrey found the study was a challenge for her.
“A lot of the other students were nearly half my age, and soaked up the learning more quickly, but the beauty of being that bit older is that I was able to draw from my life experiences and employ them in a more practical sense which is really important in nursing as it’s such a hands on occupation.”
After completing 400 hours of work placement at Manning Base Hospital, Audrey was able to start work there as an enrolled nurse in 2017.
“Because I can be flexible in my work hours and shifts, I am now studying my nursing degree via distance and online, with the goal of becoming a registered nurse and moving into other areas of nursing such as practice manager for a GP or specialist.
“With such a study load at home, that year under my belt was a great relief,” she said.
Audrey encourages anyone thinking of a career change to go for it.
“What have you got to lose? A step forward is a step towards turning your dreams into reality.”