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Kayla is a nurse, teacher and dreamweaver

After nine years working as a registered nurse, Kayla McCabe has found her ultimate calling — teaching and inspiring students to become the best nurses they can be.

"I love my role as a teacher at TAFE Queensland," Kayla said.

"Working with the certificate III students, you get such a diverse range of people — from school leavers all the way to mature age students coming back to study for the first time in 30 plus years. Seeing where they start and where they end and the inspiration that you've given them to take on a new career is just so worthwhile," she said.

Kayla's love of teaching stems from her experience as a registered nurse.

"Working as a registered nurse on the floor, we're always teaching," Kayla continued.

"We've always got nursing students, and it's something I always love to do. Seeing the impact I could make on one shift with them or a week with them was just really inspiring. And I thought doing that long term as a teacher, I knew I could produce some really good-quality nurses."

In her role teaching the Certificate III in Health Services Assistance (HLT33115) Kayla describes herself as a 'dreamweaver', helping new students enter and progress through the industry.

"We're able to transition these students from school leaving or coming back to education after a long period of time into changing careers and then going into the next stage — whether that's going from an AIN level through to a diploma level and then further on to a bachelor level — and it's just really inspiring," she said.

Kayla's favourite part of her job is building relationships with her students and seeing them progress through their learning journey.

"I absolutely love teaching at a level where they're able to really comprehend what the topics are about," Kayla said.

"And just seeing those lightbulb moments of, 'Ahh, I get it.' They've been trying to learn this topic for a long period of time and just seeing those lightbulb moments is just so rewarding as a teacher," she said.

Kayla also highly recommends the Certificate III in Health Services Assistance (HLT33115) as a more practical and structured and pathway into a career in nursing and health.

"Being a registered nurse myself, I went straight to a bachelor's degree from a very young age as soon as I finished high school. And to be honest, I actually found that quite overwhelming," Kayla said.

"So I think if you're interested in doing nursing, a Diploma of Nursing (HLT54121) is fantastic. But even before that, if you just want to dip your toes in the water and see if nursing's for you before you go through the whole diploma, try and do a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance (HLT33115) and that will give you a really good insight on whether this career path is for you."

"The best thing about the nursing diploma is that it's very focused on clinical skills, and the enrolled nurses that TAFE Queensland produce go out into industry with such fantastic clinical skills and knowledge. So then going into your Bachelor of Nursing, that transition is so much easier — it's just a more gradual learning scaffold," she explained.

Kayla's dedication to her students is evident in the way she talks about them.

"A lot of my students really inspire me," Kayla said.

"They've come from really troubled backgrounds or had really hard lives and they've kind of beaten the odds and taken the big leap to come and study at TAFE Queensland. Seeing the end result and them coming back to me and saying that they're inspired to then go on and do XYZ —it's just such a highlight," she said.

There's one student's story that particularly stands out to Kayla.

"She was in a traumatic car accident where she sustained some really life-threatening injuries," Kayla said.

"She was unable to walk or talk, and it was during COVID-19 where she wasn't able to have any visitors, so she used the nursing staff and the medical staff to help her get back to that baseline of walking and talking," she said.

"And although she had quite an advanced career in early childhood, she decided that once she got better, she was then going to come back to TAFE Queensland and study her AIN certificate and then work up to becoming a registered nurse to give back to someone the way that they gave to her."

Kayla's dedication to her students and her love for teaching is evidenced by how she positively impacts her students by giving them the support they need to achieve their dreams.

"I love to see my students grow and achieve their goals. It's what keeps me going every day."