ELISE Stewart has a message for anyone with a dream: “you can do it!”
Her dream since she was in high school involved becoming a paramedic and helping remote Indigenous communities. She took another step towards that goal by graduating with a Diploma of Nursing from Bendigo TAFE.
Elise, who is deaf, sourced a Bluetooth stethoscope to help in her studies – an essential item for hearing impaired medical professionals.
She also received strong support from teachers at Bendigo TAFE, who were able to incorporate interpreters into her classes, along with videos, simulated labs and manikins.
Elise said it was a proud moment when she completed her final exam.
“When I put the pen down in the last exam, I actually was gobsmacked that I finally completed a Diploma course,” she said.
“To complete that course was a sense of achievement.
“Whatever you put your mind to, you can do it. No matter your disability, where you come from, what you do in life, just do it.”
Elise works as an aged care worker at Mercy Health Bethlehem and an assistant nurse at St John of God Hospital.
She hopes to move on to La Trobe University as the next step in her career.
“In the future with my career I hope to be working in remote rural areas. I have a really big interest in Indigenous communities, just all walks of life, how people live, their idea of health,” Elise said.
“I’m fascinated in getting involved in that.”
Her efforts were recognised at the Bendigo TAFE graduation and awards ceremony at Ulumbarra Theatre on Tuesday night, where she was awarded the Student of the Year award.
St John of God Hospital Bendigo learning and development co-ordinator Trevor Aicken said Elise was able to gain the trust and respect of patients, families and staff.
“Elise continues to exhibit a strong work ethic, with a high standard of patient care, being very capable within her scope of practice,” he said.
Other Bendigo TAFE award winners included Brandie Strickland, who was named Inspirational Student of the Year. Gold medallion recipients included Michelle Benjamin for professional and creative studies, Ma Paw for foundations and pathways, Brianna Downing for food and fibre, Lee Lumbo for automotive, Jake Chandler for construction and industrial, and Thomas Johnstone for Indigenous education.