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Brooke swaps airlines for IV lines

She didn’t know it at the time, but a hospital stay to recover from a life-threatening illness sowed the seed for Brooke Mitchell to eventually change her career, and she couldn’t be happier.

“My hospital stay ended up being a blessing in disguise, as I experienced how nurses help patients recover and rehabilitate both physically and mentally after a traumatic event,” said Brooke.

Brooke was blown away by the nurses’ professionalism and how they gave her peace of mind when she was in such a vulnerable state.

“I was in a coma, I had died a few times and then moved to the burns unit where I had to rehab - learning to walk and eat again.”

“Seeing healthcare professionals from the patient side left me wanting to make a difference and help people who are in vulnerable positions like I was,” she said.

After making a full recovery, Brooke went back to work in her role as airline operations, only for Covid to decimate the tourism industry bringing her aviation career to an abrupt end.

“Working behind the scenes for almost 20 years in the airline industry gave me a wealth of experience and opportunity and I really thrived on the fast pace of my job. But when Covid destroyed the industry, I decided to move away from the sector entirely,” explained Brooke.

“Then when I asked myself ‘what do I want to do’, the answer was obvious, and nursing was my calling. The care, expertise, skill and kindness the nurses showed me when I was in the hospital actually inspired me to become a health care professional – and here I am.”

Her decision to study the Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115) was made easier, as TAFE Queensland’s Caboolture campus was close to her home and offered her the hands-on learning she thrives under.

“Studying nursing here gives me a good balance of theory and practical classes, with my teachers showing my class and me how to do things in the simulated nursing wards with simulated patients and medical rooms, which are as close to a real-life hospital as you can get."

“Each day I’m using the same equipment and learning in facilities that are like any hospital from anywhere in Australia, and I’m being taught by registered nurses who have decades of experience."

Enhancing Brooke’s learning even further are her classmates who have been on the journey with her since the beginning, making life easier.

“The support my classmates and I give each other is amazing. From the very beginning, we’ve studied, encouraged and helped each other the whole time and we’re definitely better for it.”

Brooke is now looking forward to graduating and looking forward to taking her next professional career step by enrolling in a Bachelor of Nursing at university.

“One of the best things about nursing is there are so many different areas you can get into you're not just stuck in the one role. You can work at a hospital aged care or in the community or vaccinations, you're just not restricted.”

“That’s what appeals to me, because if you didn't like one area, you can just move into something else because the skills are transferable and the health industry isn't going anywhere.”

“Thanks to TAFE Queensland I’m on the pathway to my purpose and I’m confident in my skills and determined to achieve my goals.”

“Once I’ve graduated I hope to become a paramedic, but with the solid skills I’ll have from studying my course I’m open to any area of nursing,” concluded Brooke.