Caboolture student Lauren Overton delivers inspiring student address at USC’s first graduation in the Moreton Bay region | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Caboolture student Lauren Overton delivers inspiring student address at USC’s first graduation in the Moreton Bay region

1. Please introduce yourself and your studies. How does it feel to have graduated?

Hi! My name is Lauren Overton, I have recently graduated from the University of the Sunshine Coast with a Bachelor of Nursing Science. The majority of my degree was located at the Caboolture campus, with my final nursing laboratories at Moreton Bay. I completed my degree as a mature aged student, and studied both full time and part time over four years. I am now working as a graduate registered nurse on the Stroke and Neurology unit at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. The past four years at USC have enabled me to discover my passions, establish my purpose, and launch my career as a practicing health care professional. I personally would like to thank the teachers and staff members at USC, who guided and supported me on this journey. I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend university, and it feels quite surreal to have completed my degree.

2. What did you enjoy most about your course and your time at the Caboolture campus? 

I enjoyed attending USC Caboolture as it is a smaller sized campus and closer to my home north of Brisbane. The size of the campus was an important factor that I considered on admission to university, and influenced my decision to apply with USC. I entered USC as a mature aged student and was quite nervous as I had not studied since high school. The smaller sized class rooms and laboratory sessions were beneficial to my initial confidence and overall learning experience. Making connections with class mates and teachers was also an added benefit to attending Caboolture campus, as you would always see familiar faces. I have had the opportunity to meet fellow students and teachers from various backgrounds, and I value the time and knowledge that we shared through-out my degree.

3. Please tell us how you have been able to apply your learnings from university into the workplace.

I currently work as a graduate RN on a busy ward with a heavy work load on most days. Transitioning from a nursing student to a graduate registered nurse has been exciting, challenging, intense, and very rewarding. My first shift without supervision felt strange to begin with, however after reminding myself of the hard work and hundreds of placement hours I’d completed, I was reassured that I was prepared and exactly where I needed to be. A few weeks ago, I was escorting a discharged patient downstairs to go home. Apart from myself and the patient, there were two wardsman in the elevator with us. As we were engaged in casual conversation, the patient collapsed to the ground like a tonne of bricks. Immediately, I was able to assess that the patient was unresponsive. In the split second that followed, I realised the wardsman were looking at me for answers, that I was the most capable and trained person in that elevator, and it was my time to step up. Thankfully, this realisation was a quick one, and I responded accordingly. I stepped up, I took responsibility, I performed my duties based on the training, experiences and knowledge that I have gained over the past four years. And thankfully the patient recovered and discharged days following the event. Through this experience I learnt that no matter what career or profession, there will always be a moment, and perhaps many moments, where we will be required to step up. On reflection of that evening, I could see and feel the transition between student and graduate. The knowledge and inestimable experiences I gained from USC, have given me the opportunity to develop my own nursing practice, transition into becoming a graduate, and establish my career as a Registered Nurse.

4. What advice would you give to new students or people who may be interested in studying?

My advice for new students or people considering the pathway of studying at university, would be to “take the plunge” and start somewhere. Personally, I trialled working within a few different industries before deciding which path to take. It took a lot of self-reflection for me to realise and appreciate my inner passions and qualities, which ultimately lead towards nursing. Initially I was entering a bachelor of nursing science to potentially move between degrees, however within my first tutorial I quickly realised I had found my calling. Just starting somewhere was the best thing I could of done, knowing there was the ability to transfer between degrees if I wasn’t happy with my original choice, made applying less daunting. The staff at USC were also very helpful and supportive, which made the beginning of my degree less stressful then I had anticipated. When reflecting on my decision to begin a degree at USC, I find myself so very glad that I “took the plunge” and started what turned out to be a fantastic four years of study, which has led to the establishment of my nursing career.



Lauren Overton

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