The opening of USC’s Gympie campus was a defining moment for 30-year-old mother of two Laura Keldoulis, giving her the opportunity to pursue a career in health care.
Ms Keldoulis graduated from USC recently with a Bachelor of Nursing Science and is working as a registered nurse at Bundaberg’s Friendly Society Private Hospital.
“If it wasn't for USC having a campus in Gympie, I would not have been able to study due to the demands of family life and working. It provided me with the opportunity to gain a degree without having to leave Gympie,” Ms Keldoulis said.
USC opened the campus in Gympie in 2013 as part of its commitment to bringing greater education opportunities to regions where choices were previously limited.
Ms Keldoulis said that her brother was one of her main inspirations to follow a career in nursing, a desire shared with sister Amanda, who graduated with a Nursing Science degree from USC Gympie in September last year.
“I initially wanted to do nursing as a child, when my older brother was ill, and my family spent a lot of time with him in hospital in Brisbane,” Ms Keldoulis said.
“This had a huge impact on my life, as did the nurses that we got to see every day, and it instilled in me a feeling that I wanted to give back to others,” she said.
“After leaving school I was a little sceptical about whether I would 'make it' as a nurse so decided to do a Certificate III in Aged Care and started as an Assistant in Nursing at a local aged care facility.”
Discovering that she loved working in health care, she decided to take on further study to become a registered nurse, continuing to work in aged care while completing the three-year degree.
Ms Keldoulis said her experience at USC had provided many opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.
“Undertaking an international clinical placement where we provided health care to people living in in remote villages in Java, Indonesia, was undoubtedly one of the best moments of my life,” she said.
“Other highlights included forming the best friendships I have ever had with fellow students and being able to study nursing with my sister.”
Both sisters achieved outstanding results in their studies, with Laura receiving a University Medal for academic excellence and Amanda being presented with the Chancellor’s Medal – USC’s highest honour for a graduating student.
Ms Keldoulis said she enjoyed applying skills developed throughout clinical placements and in USC’s nursing simulation labs.
She is working in the cardiac ward after recently completing a rotation in orthopaedic surgery as part of the Friendly Society Private Hospital’s graduate nursing program.
“The most rewarding aspect of my new job is caring for people going through some of the most vulnerable and upsetting moments of their lives.”
She plans to continue studying and hopes to gain a research or educational nursing role after further developing her skills and experience.
Applications are open to study at USC, starting Semester 2. Details on how to apply can be found at www.usc.edu.au/learn
— Clare McKay
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