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Giving future life to her nursing career

At age 59, Julie Bullock was hesitant to return to study. But after being met with encouragement and support from her teachers and classmates she's continued to advance her studies even further.

After overcoming a series of family and personal challenges, Julie decided to rebuild her life and started to consider a career in nursing.

"My daughter strongly encouraged me to do this, however I was hesitant due to my age of 59," said Julie.

Julie first reached out to TAFE Queensland in 2013 where she spoke to counsellor and careers advisor Megan Buxton about whether she was too old to complete a nursing qualification.

Julie was pleasantly surprised by the response she received.

"I was so amazed and shocked that customer services and the counsellor did NOT discourage me from doing the course and were very supportive. I called my daughter saying, 'everyone was accepting of the idea and encouraging.' My daughter said, 'there you go mum, I told you!"

Based on this response, at the age of 60 Julie enrolled into the Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115) at TAFE Queensland's Ipswich campus.

“It was a wonderful opportunity, and I grew as a person and felt like I was contributing to society,” she said.

Julie chose to study at TAFE Queensland because of the practical, industry-relevant training they offered.

“I believe that the experience and training they provide is applicable to the workplace and preparing you for the workforce," she said.

Since completing her qualification Julie has successfully found work in the industry and is currently a Practice Nurse in a family medical centre.

After the success of her previous study experience, Julie decided to add to her skill set and return to TAFE Queensland for a second time.

Now aged 67, Julie is currently studying a Diploma of Counselling (CHC51015). She decided to study this qualification to complement her nursing skills in the field of general practice.

“Counselling skills have positively impacted on my approach, I feel more prepared to speak to patients holistically, not only addressing medical needs,” said Julie.

“Since doing the Diploma of Counselling (CHC51015) I have noticed that the patients I work with in the family medical centre feel heard — they open up more."

Looking back on her study journey, Julie says her time at TAFE Queensland gave her much more than just a qualification.

“Study is good for your mental and physical health, self-confidence and keeps us involved in life. Upskilling in nursing and now counselling has given me life, purpose and place," she said.

Julie's advice to other mature-aged students wanting to relaunch their careers is to embrace the opportunities that investing in your education can bring.

“Give it a go — you don’t know where it could take you. It could change your life, and it does not leave you with regrets.”