Gympie nurse earns prestigious USC medal | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Gympie nurse earns prestigious USC medal

A mother-of-three who almost did not start university because she felt she had left her run at a nursing career too late will this week be awarded USC’s highest honour for a graduating student.

Thirty-eight-year-old Amanda Keldoulis of Gympie will receive the Chancellor’s Medal when she graduates from USC with a Bachelor of Nursing Science at a ceremony at the Sunshine Coast on Thursday (27 September).

“When I began university three years ago I was questioning if I was too old to be able to learn and contribute to the profession,” the USC Gympie student said.

“Having finished my degree I can see that this was quite ridiculous, and that university is for people of all ages,” said Ms Keldoulis, who graduates with a grade point average of 6.8 out of a possible 7 and is now working as a registered nurse at a Gympie medical centre.

The prestigious award, to be presented by USC Chancellor Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC, is in recognition of her outstanding academic achievements and contribution to other students and the community.

At the start of the year, Ms Keldoulis was recognised by the Australian College of Nursing with an Emerging Nurse Leader award for her dedication, academic results and leadership potential.

She was a member of USC Gympie’s Student Liaison Group and the Communication Coordinator for the Australian College of Nursing Queensland Central Region Leadership team, working to further the image and professionalism of nurses.

“I really enjoyed being part of these groups and being a voice for other students,” she said.

USC Lecturer in Nursing Samantha Edward said Ms Keldoulis was not only dedicated to performing to a high level, but assisted and motivated others to succeed.

“Amanda took an active interest in research and evidence-based practice in nursing and actively contributed to the curriculum and clinical experience of students,” Ms Edwards said.

She was also selected to take part in USC’s first accredited international nursing placement to Java, Indonesia, and was integral in raising funds to purchase clinical equipment to improve health services for remote Javanese villages.

Sharing this experience with her sister Laura Keldoulis, who was also studying Nursing Science, was a highlight of her time at USC. “It was extra special experience to do this with Laura and it has given us some amazing memories,” Ms Keldoulis said.

After 10 years raising her family, she said she completed a Certificate III in Aged Care as a way of dipping her foot in the water prior to committing to a university degree.

“I was inspired to study nursing because I wanted a career that would challenge me and provide ample opportunities to travel in the future,” she said.

“It made sense to commit to study at the local campus because Gympie is my home town, we have a home here, and our children go to school here.”

— Clare McKay

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