Plumber’s lightbulb moment leads to nursing degree - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Plumber’s lightbulb moment leads to nursing degree

2 Oct 2018

Three years ago, Peter Nugent was working in Queensland’s coal seam gas fields searching for a career change. Now he is about to graduate with a Nursing Science degree from USC and start work as a theatre nurse.

After almost 20 years in the plumbing trade, Mr Nugent said it would be a proud moment when he crossed the stage to receive a Bachelor of Nursing Science at a USC graduation ceremony in Hervey Bay on Thursday 4 October.

The Fraser Coast community is invited to the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the second cohort of students to graduate from USC’s Fraser Coast campus. Reservations are essential.

“It seems surreal to think that so much has changed in just a few years and I will graduate and start work as a registered nurse at St Stephen’s Hospital in Hervey Bay in a matter of weeks,” Mr Nugent said.

“I am both nervous and excited to be entering into a nursing career as I understand the responsibilities I am about to take on and the new adventures I will encounter.”

Watching his wife recover in hospital from a life-threatening infection convinced the 40-year-old in 2016 to give up his job working away on gas pipeline projects in western Queensland.

“It was my lightbulb moment. Having the option to study Nursing Science at USC Fraser Coast gave me the opportunity to drastically rearrange my life,” he said.

“Throughout my degree USC has given me the opportunity to grow as a person. With support, I was able to utilise the existing skills I had and use them to transition to a totally new career with ease.”

Clinical placements at St Stephens Private Hospital, the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service’s intensive care unit and a final placement with Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) based out of Rockhampton, were among the highlights of the three-year degree.

“I am a very practical person therefore the hands-on experience from placements was a chance to put the educational knowledge I gained into the work environment and confirmed where I saw myself working in in the future,” he said.

“My placement at RFDS was an incredible experience and working there is a goal for me.”
Jobs as a personal care worker in aged care and as an assistant in nursing in a local hospital helped Mr Nugent gain experience during his studies and reinforced that nursing was the career for him.

“I thrive on patient interaction and the ability to make a difference to people’s lives. The smallest gesture when someone is at their most vulnerable can mean the world to them and there is no better feeling then being the person who makes that difference,” he said.

- Clare McKay

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