Marine biologist becomes hospital nurse | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Marine biologist becomes hospital nurse

A Peregian Beach marine biologist has gained a new career as a theatre nurse with a Nursing Science degree from the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Julie-Ann Nicholls, 40, is working at Nambour General Hospital after a successful internship during her USC Bachelor of Nursing Science Graduate Entry.

Ms Nicholls gained her dream job before she officially graduated from USC in April with a University Medal for her grade point average of 6.82 out of 7.

"I worked hard because I knew that it was a competitive field and that GPA was a consideration for employers," she said. "I was fascinated by what I was learning.

"I’ve always had a caring nature and now I’ve gone from caring for animals to caring for people.

She said her role at the hospital was exciting and fulfilling.

"I’ve attended seminars, workshops and education sessions and am starting a new rotation as a scrub/scout nurse after spending time in the central sterilising area to familiarise myself with all the surgical instruments."

The keen diver, with a marine biology degree from James Cook University, previously worked at the Melbourne Aquarium and Mooloolaba’s Underwater World where she specialised in sea jellyfish.

The mother of two was working in medical administration when she decided to join the frontline team of doctors and nurses looking after patients.

"I loved my time at USC," she said. "The calibre of staff and the content of subjects were exceptional.

"I found that if you were willing to put in the effort, the lecturers and tutors were always there to offer their knowledge and guide you in the right direction.

"My favourite times were in the nursing laboratories because they were set up just like a real hospital, giving us the opportunity for a hands-on approach."

She was honoured by the University Medal. "It was recognition and reward for the long hours. I believe if you choose to do something, you put in 100 percent effort."

Applications are now open to start studying at USC mid-year. For more information visit or contact Student Administration at or 5430 2890.

— Julie Schomberg

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