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“I wish I had done it years ago” — Arlene’s experience ensures positive student outcomes

TAFE Queensland Health Care Teacher, Arlene Byrne, has brought fresh enthusiasm to an enduring and rewarding profession by joining the team at the Kingaroy and Nurunderi campuses, eager to share her knowledge with the next generation of health professionals.

Arlene joined the team in mid-2023, and offers an arguably ‘perfect’ combination of skills. She originally worked as a secondary school teacher, before training to become a nurse, and subsequently spent 14 years in the emergency care and aged care sectors.

“I am passionate about quality patient care and safety, and being an advocate for patients,” said Arlene.

“I believe my experiences, which I share with my students, enables them to see how everything ‘works together’ and there is nothing better than enhancing learning by sharing real life examples,” she said.

And she has many of these varied real life examples. Since moving to the South Burnett six years ago, Arlene has worked as a clinical nurse in Aged Care and the Emergency departments with the Murgon, Cherbourg and Kingaroy hospitals.

She also took on a school-based youth health nurse role, working in some of the local high schools and P-10 schools. Most recently she has been based at the Wondai and Kilkivan state schools on alternate Fridays.

Residing in Wondai, 20 kilometres from Cherbourg’s Nurunderi campus, an avid reader, ‘Toastmaster’, and a swimmer in her ‘spare time’ (she aims to swim at least 1 km each morning before work), Arlene has observed and enjoyed the keenness from students.

“It’s been great to see the engagement and interest from our students from the get-go,” Arlene said.

“After a fast and steep learning curve — for all of us — I’m now looking to really develop my style of teaching to meet my students’ individual needs, even more so,” Ms Byrne shared.

Arlene teaches Certificate III in Individual Support (CHC33021) and Certificate II in Health Support Services (HLT23221) to TAFE at School students at the Kingaroy campus. She also teaches the Certificate III in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (HLT30113) at the Nurunderi campus.

“I’m blessed to be able to teach at TAFE Queensland. I have wanted to teach health students for a while now and was very lucky to get this position. It is incredibly fulfilling and I love my job,” shared Arlene.

Of particular note, she credits her colleagues for ensuring a smooth transition.

“The staff are so supportive, friendly and welcoming. My immediate managers have been there for me every step of the way, assisting when needed. There is nothing to dislike working for TAFE Queensland — I wish I had done it years ago,” Arlene beamed.

As to why other industry professionals should consider teaching with TAFE Queensland, Arlene didn’t hesitate to share her advice.

“The culture is positive, student-centred and the staff are looked after.”

“TAFE Queensland embraces change for the better. Education opportunities are abundant. Staff are supported and encouraged to be the best that they can be — this has a positive flow-on affect to the students,” she added.