25 May 2017
A mother of two who enrolled in a Nursing Science degree at USC after a long career in retail has graduated with flying colours and received a University Medal for academic excellence.
Yandina Creek resident Emma Stevens, 44, completed her degree with a grade point average of 6.8 out of a possible 7, and is now working as a perioperative nurse at the newly opened Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) at Birtinya.
Ms Stevens began a hospital-based nursing course as a teenager, but found she was not ready for the intensity of life on the wards. She travelled overseas and worked in the furniture retail industry for more than a decade before enrolling at USC at the age of 41.
She said the 20-year detour from her goal of becoming a nurse had made her even more determined to succeed in her Nursing Science degree.
“I was really nervous about starting university, but after my first few assignments, I got really competitive with myself,” she said. “I wanted to make the most of my studies and improve my results every semester.
“I was really proud to receive the University Medal at graduation. It was great for me to be able to show my two girls what’s possible – that if you work hard, you can really excel.
“It was challenging to balance time with my daughters, my husband’s shift work, and assignments, but it really helped that the USC staff and my friends and family were so supportive and positive.”
Ms Stevens has been working in a graduate position with Queensland Health at SCUH since February, and said she was thriving in the high-pressure environment of the operating theatre.
“I’ve had an interest in the perioperative department since the very first year of my degree,” she said. “I’m now part of a team that can make a really major difference to someone’s life.”
Applications are now open for mid-year entry to study at USC, starting Semester 2 on 24 July. Details on how to apply for more than 90 undergraduate and postgraduate programs can be found at the USC website.
— Gen Kennedy