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Doing it for the kids

Motivated to show her kids that if you put your mind to something you can achieve your dreams, Anthea Byers decided to follow her passion and make the change to a career in nursing.

After working for nine years in an admin role, mother-of-two Anthea Byers felt like she wasn't going anywhere. Motivated to show her kids that if you put your mind to something you can achieve your dreams, she decided to follow her passion and make the change to a career in nursing.

"My kids were really excited when I told them that I had gotten into the Diploma of Nursing (HLT54121) with TAFE Queensland. They knew that it was something that I'd always wanted to do, so they were so excited and supportive of me. My son was running around telling everybody I was a nurse before I even actually walked through the doors of TAFE!" Anthea explained.

Although she had the support of her family, returning to study for the first time in 20 years was a daunting thought for Anthea, and she worried about how she would keep up with the workload.

"Coming back to studying after a long time, it was it was terrifying to be honest," Anthea continued.

"But the teachers that we had were so supportive and you just needed to be open and honest with them and I was. I told them when I was struggling, I told them that I didn't feel like I was good enough, and they would sit me down and they would say, 'You've got this Anthea.' And they gave me the confidence that I needed to get through, so I can't thank them enough," she said.

Anthea was drawn to TAFE Queensland because of their practical, hands-on approach to learning. And now that she's experienced it for herself, she's confident she made the right decision.

"TAFE Queensland has amazing facilities for the Diploma of Nursing (HLT54121)," Anthea said.

"They've got the simulation wards which are set up like a real hospital so they can actually be used as a hospital if it came to it. So everything that we do in there feels so real when we transfer it across to placement. I'm a very hands on person, so I knew that it would probably be better for me."

For Anthea, nursing is all about supporting people in their time of need and making a difference to people during a difficult time in their lives.

"I just love caring for people. I think the way that I always looked at it is that when people are in hospital, they feel very vulnerable. I want to be the person that goes into their room and puts a smile on their face despite them being in probably not the best situation," Anthea said.

"I want them to be able to smile and feel positive and feel like everything's going to be OK despite the circumstances. I want to give them that confidence and give them something to smile about," she said.

Now that Anthea has successfully completed her nursing diploma she's seamlessly continued her studies at university with the help of a diploma-to-degree pathway.

"By studying the Diploma of Nursing (HLT54121) through TAFE Queensland I was accepted into the University of the Sunshine Coast and I've been put straight into the second year of uni. So it's taken a whole year off the university degree for me and I've got another two years to go and I'll become a registered nurse," she said.

For Anthea, the future is looking bright and she's excited to start exploring the many varied career opportunities that her nursing qualifications have opened up.

"I know that there's lots of different avenues that you can go down with nursing. I don't know which one I want to take yet, but the fact that there is so much out there for me makes me excited, and I'm just looking forward to being a nurse and working in a hospital," she said.

For anyone who feels stuck and is procrastinating about making a career change like she did, Anthea has some words of advice she hopes will help them take the first step.

"Just look at me — I didn't think I could do it but now I realise that if it's something that you want to do, you can do it. The reward of saying ‘I did that’ and having your family see you work hard and do it, it's worth it," Anthea said.

"I'm so much more happier with myself and I've got something that I feel really proud of. It's an amazing feeling and I think everybody should have that opportunity."

There's no doubt Anthea has found her calling and looking back on her journey so far she's proud of how far she's come.

"I've achieved greatness because I've become something that I always wanted to be. I've done that through the Diploma of Nursing (HLT54121) with TAFE Queensland and I've watched great teachers teach me how to be the great nurse that I want to be."