Chantelle Ragg “knew nothing” about the University of Tasmania before she enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing with Clinical Honours (Transition to Practice) Program, but she’s now a strong advocate for the course and for online, distance learning.

After completing a bachelor degree in nursing through the University of Wollongong, Chantelle moved to Broken Hill, NSW and it was here, on orientation day, that she discovered a pamphlet for the University of Tasmania honours course.

“I knew I wanted to do further study, but I worried that I might need to do contact study sessions, so it was great to find out the UTAS course was fully online," said Chantelle.

Online was never a disadvantage. My course co-ordinator, Michelle Phillips, was exceptional and there was support all the way through; at no point did I feel on my own.

“It wasn’t all smooth-sailing. There were times I wasn’t coping with work commitments and I know I would never have got through the course without the support from Michelle.”

The 24 year old completed the Transition to Practice program over one year in 2019, which included an extended spring school. The course can be studied for a minimum one year but can be completed over three years. It is offered in Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT and includes clinical practice hours with a participating partner.

There is a strong emphasis on developing registered nursing for modern nursing practices.

I found the course was absolutely relevant. It filled the gap that my university degree was missing by helping me ‘fit in’ and adjust to a hospital environment better.

As part of the course requirements, students specialise in a chosen area of nursing practice. For Chantelle this has meant she’s been able to focus on her passion for midwifery and paediatrics. 

Chantelle says she has no doubt the transition program has already provided her with a competitive advantage and will assist in her career progression.

Tamworth born and raised, Chantelle secured a registered nurse position at Tamworth Hospital in early 2020 and has continued studying, by undertaking midwifery training. 

“Midwifery and maternity are great areas to work because you’re not focusing on illness, but on wellness.”

“I also love paediatrics for the reason that you can incorporate some silliness and fun into the workplace. It’s such a great day when you see children become well; you see their personalities pick up and you get to see them so excited about going home.”

Chantelle will formally graduate in November, 2020.


Image: Nursing student on nursing home visit in Sheffield, Tasmania. Osborne Images.