After growing up in awe of medical professionals like her siblings, Marina Cuthbert has followed in their footsteps and is now on track to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a nurse.

Marina is set to graduate with a Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115) from TAFE Queensland early next month after completing her final practical placement in the emergency department of Logan Hospital last week.

It’s been a long time coming for Marina, who grew up in the Solomon Islands watching with pride and fascination as two of her nine older siblings pursued careers in medicine.

“My oldest brother was a doctor and my oldest sister a nurse’s aide,” Marina said.

“I spent my whole childhood watching them with patients and I thought they were both so interesting and that their work was just so important," she continued.

“I’ve known since I was 10-years-old that I wanted to become a nurse, but it was really solidified for me when I was a high school student – I helped my oldest sister deliver our other sisters’ baby and that totally blew me away. I knew for sure then that I wanted to get the skills to be able to do that myself.”

Marina qualified as a nurse in the Solomon Islands but relocated to Australia soon after and decided to focus on her family and settling into a new way of life rather than work.

“I found adjusting to the Australian way of life difficult at first because it was so much busier here and I didn’t have all my family with me. To have worked on top of that would have been too much,” she said.

“I also had two difficult pregnancies, which made it impossible to work, and I was committed to seeing my children through their infant and toddler years as a full-time stay-at-home mum.”

By 2017 Marina had settled into her new life – her children were growing up and she was starting to think about returning to work – when a good friend mentioned they were enrolling in a nursing course at TAFE Queensland.

“My Solomon Island qualifications aren’t recognised in Australia and I thought, ‘I have all this knowledge, I absolutely love nursing, and all I need is to focus for 18 months and I’ll be able to work again in a job that I love’,” Marina said.

“So I joined my friend and we signed up for the course together.”

In January 2018, Marina commenced study at TAFE Queensland’s Loganlea campus and found the experience to be enjoyable and very manageable, even with her young family.

“I found everyone very supportive. The facilities were great, my classmates where fantastic, and I have made some wonderful friendships through the course, including with some of my teachers,” she said.

“One of the best parts was the flexibility TAFE Queensland offered, which was very important to someone like me, who has a young family at home.”

Emergency medicine has long interested Marina and following her experiences with Logan Hospital, she is even more determined to pursue a career in this field.

“As soon as I walked into emergency I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve found exactly where I want to be’,” Marina said.

“I love the variety that comes with working in an emergency department. In triage you see everything, from injuries caused by accidents to respiratory problems, and even acute diseases. You never know what’s coming your way and I really enjoy that variety."

“The teamwork required in the emergency department is another element that I love being involved in and I found everyone to be so supportive of me as a student. I can’t wait to get started."



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