Graduating with a Bachelor of Dementia Care today is a major achievement on many fronts for Amanda Crombie.
Juggling 64 hours of work a fortnight and the diagnosis of her own partner with dementia to complete her degree, Ms Crombie also graduated as valedictorian.
“I was thrilled with my results and being valedictorian because I never imagined I could achieve this level of academic success,” she said
“Having not written academically for many years and having very basic computer literacy was a challenge at the start of my studies, but persistence paid off and I got a handle on both after a little while.”
After caring for an increasing number of patients with dementia as a nurse, Ms Crombie came across the Wicking Centre for Dementia Research and Education’s Bachelor of Dementia Care while searching online for more information on dementia.
She immediately enrolled in the course and began studying again in 2014- at the age of 55.
“The more I learned the less enamoured I became with the situation in residential aged care and I left to gain a position as a Dementia Clinical Nurse Consultant in a publicly funded community health centre,” she said.
“This position was a direct result of the knowledge I have gained from my study at the Wicking Centre.”
Ms Crombie said her decision to study was fortuitous.
“Over the past five years my partner of 38 years has developed dementia, so the knowledge I have gained has enabled me to understand the condition and the best way to support him to live well,” she said.
“And considering the interim findings of the Aged Care Royal Commission, it is evident that I am perfectly placed to be a valuable commodity in the healthcare workforce in the future. For a 60yo this is an important consideration.”
More study well may be on the cards in the future.
“Right now, my focus has to be on my partner- and my job which gives me a great opportunity to enhance the lives of people with dementia and their families and to share my knowledge with colleagues,” Ms Crombie said.
“However, I have enjoyed the study immensely and the way the degree gave me the ability to immediately translate the knowledge gained from the study into practice.”
“I am hoping to continue my studies at some time in the future, possibly to become a Nurse Practitioner, but I am also considering doing the Masters of Dementia Care as well.”