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While driving home after night shift, TAFE Queensland nursing student Maria Savage likes to reflect on what she experienced while working on placement as an Assistant Nurse.

“During that 30-minute drive, I think about what I learnt during my shift and how I could approach situations differently, something that is helping to develop my career,” says Maria.

During these moments of quiet reflection, she’s finding herself more content with her choice to become a nurse, something that wasn’t even on her radar just three years ago.

“For years I didn’t know what I wanted to be in this world and when I wasn’t chosen to join the Queensland Police Service, I didn’t know what I was meant to be,” she says.

While not becoming a police officer left her shattered, career inspiration wasn’t far away with her mother, who raised Maria and her five siblings while working as a registered nurse, providing a glimpse into her possible future.

“I hadn’t considered becoming a nurse, but I admire my mum so much that I decided to follow in her footsteps. Thinking about it, nursing better aligns with my values of helping others while constantly learning and giving me personal fulfilment and life purpose,” she continues.

Photo: Maria's mother who also worked as a Nurse. 

Maria enrolled to study a Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115) with TAFE Queensland as a stepping stone to eventually studying a bachelor as the course provides her with the best possible introduction to the nursing world.

“I’m so glad to be studying with TAFE Queensland because when I reach university, I’ll have a vast amount of industry knowledge and I would have built hands-on nursing skills to excel my further studies. It's a truly excellent starting point.”

It was during her first work placement that Maria knew nursing was her calling. Assisting at an aged care home, she experienced helping people heal in a kind and positive way.

“My placement allowed me to apply everything I’d learnt at TAFE Queensland in an actual workplace.”

“Each day was different and working with patients was invaluable to my developing my career. The placement has been my favourite part of the course, closely followed by the interactions I have with my teachers,” she explains.

Because her teachers still work as clinical and registered nurses, they combine theory with hands-on training in industry-standard labs while sharing their work and life experiences – inspiring and motivating their students like Maria.

“Learning at TAFE Queensland is excellent because the simulated labs are exactly like hospital wards and operate the same way as the workplace with the same equipment so that once we join the workforce, everything will be familiar and relevant.”

Now that she’s working, learning and progressing towards becoming a nurse and developing a career she’s passionate about, she’s feeling wonderful about life.

“It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you know you’re working in a career that is meant for you – and that’s how I feel about nursing.”

Eventually, she will specialise as a wounds and burns care nurse, with the ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.

“I want to be highly regarded in my career for my excellence in providing thorough care, but also for my kindness to others and compassion for the vulnerable people in society that reach out for help.”

“So many people have provided me with care and compassion throughout my life, so it's my way of giving back and making a difference.”

Helping people for a living is truly Maria’s calling and despite early career setbacks, she now truly believes she’s capable of being an amazing nurse.

“Every day is different and every day I’m learning - I can’t wait for what the future brings. Next stop: graduation in November,” concludes Maria.


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