19 May 2017
Oncology nurse and USC student Tess Beane refuses to let the challenges of moderate to severe dyslexia slow her quest for life-long learning.
The Hervey Bay nurse has begun a part-time Master of Nursing (Clinical Leadership) at USC which she hopes will lead to PhD research into the administration of oncology medication for children.
“My main goal is to teach my two daughters that no matter what life throws at you, you can challenge it, understand it and grow from it,” Mrs Beane said.
She is one of USC Fraser Coast’s first post-graduate students, and will specialise in paediatrics in the Master of Nursing program, which is delivered using a combination of online and on-campus learning.
“My continual study journey has been one of personal development and empowerment,” said the registered nurse, who works at the Hervey Bay Oncology Day Unit administering chemotherapy and educating patients and their families on cancer treatment and care.
Mrs Beane, who has trouble comprehending written text, was in her thirties and in the second year of an undergraduate Nursing degree when she was first diagnosed with comprehensive dyslexia.
To reduce the impact of the condition, she accesses support from USC’s Disability Services and uses strategies to compensate for the different way that her brain processes language, including technological aids, language and learning advice and specialised study methods.
“There are many tools and people to support me to achieve my goals,” she said. “I have a computer that reads to me, and I can get the text books in a format that is easier to read.
“I have a great need to ask questions and I continually talk with the lecturers at USC and have been able to develop a great relationship with them.
“I also have great support from my family and in the beginning, my girls would read my text books out loud and record them. They still assist with spelling mistakes and sentence structure in my assignments, and my husband also helps by being a sounding board.”
USC Fraser Coast Disability Adviser Kathy Cool-Murphy said Mrs Beane proved that with hard work, support and academic adjustments, students with a disability could succeed at university.
“Tess is not only achieving academic success but is breaking down the stereotypes associated with dyslexia,” Ms Cool-Murphy said. “I was moved by her determination.”
— Clare McKay