“If you want it badly enough, you’ll make it happen,” says Theresa Scott who has recently completed her Graduate Diploma of Nursing (Acute Care Nursing).

Theresa graduated with a bachelor’s nursing degree from the University of Tasmania in 2015. Following undergraduate study she secured a 12-month Tasmanian Government graduate position with the then-Department of Health (now Tasmanian Health Service) and worked at the Launceston General Hospital and Beaconsfield District Health Service. In 2016 she was successful in obtaining a permanent position at the Mersey Community Hospital, not far for her home in Latrobe, north-west Tasmania.

“I had two years’ experience under my belt, had consolidated the basics of nursing and knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life; I felt like I was ready to return to study.

“Education is no weight to carry. We are so lucky to have this opportunity to better ourselves.

The Graduate Diploma of Nursing is the second level (after certificate level) of the Master of Clinical Nursing and is offered part-time. With the exceptions of Child and Family Health Nursing and Mental Health/Psychiatric Nursing all specialisations are offered fully online.

The benefit of online is its flexibility. I was able to structure study around my busier or quieter weeks and months, and around shift-work.

Also, the opportunity to do summer school allowed me to keep my study flow, but also helped when I needed to drop back, which I did when I was pregnant.

Graduate diploma students work in clinical practice relevant to their specialty area.

“Studying relevant units means I have furthered my skills in the area I am working in and deepened my understanding of my practice. It also made me question the way I think; study wasn’t a chore – I couldn’t help but be interested in what I was learning because I could relate to it.

I’m a better nurse because of my post-graduate studies.

Theresa is a staunch advocate for the University of Tasmania course; so much so, she’s encouraged three nursing colleagues to apply.

“The online support is phenomenal. I’ve studied at the University of Tasmania now, on and off, for eight years and while some structures have changed, the teaching and staff support have always been consistent. From the lecturers to the library or IT staff, they want to help you; they want students to succeed.

Online discussion boards are a great way to meet fellow health workers who are studying through the University of Tasmania but are based all around the country. They bring a great mix of experience to the conversation.

For now, Theresa’s priority is little Abigail. She was born in February, just a day before the new mum received news she had successfully passed her graduate diploma studies. Two great achievements to celebrate!

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