Rebecca Hodgson has turned a difficult diagnosis into an opportunity to help others, with the mother-of-two and double transplant recipient pushing through life’s curveballs in her quest to become an enrolled nurse.
Ms Hodgson is on track to graduate with a Diploma of Nursing from TAFE Queensland and launch her career in the healthcare industry by the end of this year, driven by a determination to support others at their most vulnerable after overcoming several medical challenges of her own along the path to achieving her goal.
Ms Hodgson’s medical journey began when she developed gestational diabetes in pregnancy – a condition that triggered a years’ long battle with Type 1 diabetes and multiple organ failure.
The 43-year-old mother-of-two and part-time retail worker was placed on dialysis for four hours every second day, but not one to let life get her down, Ms Hodgson learned how to do dialysis at home and used that time to study for a Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115).
"With the dialysis and all the medical stuff going on with me during the years, I wanted to give back and be a nurse so I could help other people in similar situations," Ms Hodgson said.
"I worked the days that I wasn’t at TAFE, then on my TAFE days I’d come home after class and study while I was on dialysis. I was actually on my way to TAFE when I got the call (last February) to say I needed to be in Sydney within a couple of hours for a kidney and pancreas double transplant."
Now just months away from completing her qualification, Ms Hodgson says her journey, though fraught with difficulties, has been worthwhile and made easier thanks to the support and direction she received her from her teachers at TAFE Queensland.
"I’m absolutely excited to finish – I had to take five months off for my transplant, so I’ve been studying for two years," she explained.
"While I was on dialysis, I was looking at different avenues and TAFE Queensland was really supportive in guiding me in the right direction. The course being only three days a week gave me the flexibility to work the other days and have money coming in."
"I hadn’t been to school for 20 years or so, but the lecturers were all really supportive and made learning easy."
While Ms Hodgson, who is now diabetes and dialysis free, says "the whole experience through TAFE is awesome", it's the hands-on learning and work placements that really cements her opinion of studying with TAFE Queensland.
"I love the support and the labs – the hands-on stuff was really good and they made sure you got the practical experience," she said.
"You’re never too old. TAFE supported me and made it feel achievable."
According to the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, the nationwide employment opportunities for enrolled nurses over the five years from 2020 to 2025 are set to increase by 9.8% (based off National Skills Commission Projections).
As the state’s largest and most experienced training provider, TAFE Queensland is committed to providing Queenslanders with the quality, hands-on training they need to succeed in their chosen career, while fulfilling the skills demands of the community.
To find out more about TAFE Queensland’s Diploma of Nursing, visit tafeqld.edu.au or call 1300 308 233, and enrol today.