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Online study allowed Minni to follow her dream

When you ask Minni Chahal why she decided to study nursing, she'll tell you it was to expand her beauty therapy business. But the real reason behind her motivations is a lot closer to heart.

After her mother passed away suddenly in 2018, Minni wanted to get a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding her death. But without a background in health, she found the medical terminology difficult to follow.

"I really wanted to read her chart but when I saw it, I had to Google things because I didn't know anything and I felt really bad because I couldn't understand it," Minni said.

Spurred on by her quest to understand what had happened to her mum, Minni started investigating nursing courses. But as she was working full time in her business, 1st Lady Health & Beauty, finding a course that would fit around her busy schedule wasn't easy.

"I looked at lots of other providers, but with other courses I had to go to class and I couldn't afford the time," Minni said.

"When my husband contacted TAFE Queensland and found a course that was offered flexibly and online I felt really happy because other institutes don't offer the course online, only TAFE Queensland," she said.

Despite being excited to be finally starting her studies, Minni was a little sceptical about the prospect of completing such a practical course online.

"I was really nervous about studying online because I thought, 'You can't study nursing online!' But here they give you so much study material, so many videos, they ask if you want to come to class and ask any questions — so I was nervous, but after my first few days I was very confident," Minni said.

Minni also gained a lot of her confidence from her teachers who nurtured and supported her throughout her study journey and were always happy to answer any questions she had.

"We had great support from our teachers, they kept asking, 'Is there anything you want to confirm? Anything you want to discuss? Anything you're not sure about before placement? Please let me know so I can make it clear.'"

In addition to support and encouragement from her teachers, Minni also developed a great support network with her fellow nursing students.

"I met lots of friends here. If we have any doubts we help answer each others questions and if we can't answer them in the group we ask our teachers. I've made a lot of good friends here and now they're still with me in placement," she said.

If Minni had any lingering doubts about how she could develop practical skills in an online course, they were quickly dealt with once she started her first nursing placement as part of her training.

"You learn on real people when you go on placement — there's no dummy. That's the main thing with TAFE, they give you hands-on skills straight away and you feel more confident — because I felt really confident when I was doing hands-on practice."

Now that she's nearing the end of her studies, Minni is planning on splitting her time between nursing and beauty therapy, now being able to offer additional services at her clinic including Botox and dermal fillers thanks to her nursing qualification.

"When I finish my course I plan to work in a hospital to upgrade my skills. Because in nursing you learn everyday from your patients, from your colleagues — everyday you learn new things. That's the reason I'll work in a hospital, so I can get more skills," she said.

Minni is thankful she found a way to pursue her passion and keep working full time, and would recommend studying online to other busy professionals.

"Those who are thinking of doing their Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115), please come and join straight away because I've been thinking for the last two years to do it, but I thought couldn't because I didn't know that TAFE offered an online diploma," she said.

And for those who are feeling apprehensive about diving back into study, Minni says the supportive environment at TAFE Queensland makes all the difference.

"You will get lots of support here — you can't imagine how much easier it can make the journey. I was feeling really stressed and I was so nervous and I was worried whether I could complete it, but I did. If I can do it while working full time and running a business, anyone can do it!"

Reflecting back on why she chose to start her nursing journey, Minni is thankful she was able to get a start in such a rewarding career.

"Nursing means a lot to me. It's not only a career, it's my personal life too. Some people I think make their career just to earn money, but I did nursing to save my family and friends and patients in hospital.

"I can't save my mum, but now I can help save other patients."