Bendigo TAFE graduate Elise Stewart selected as a Vocational Student of the Year finalist

One of Bendigo TAFE’s nursing graduates has been selected as a finalist for a state government award.

Elise Stewart, who was recognised as the TAFE’s student of the year in April is one of three finalists nominated as Vocational Student of the Year for the 2018 Victorian Training Awards.

Elise was born with a hearing condition which has resulted in complete loss of hearing in one ear.

While undertaking the nursing program she lobbied to have electronic educational material subtitled and independently sourced funding under the NDIS for her own Bluetooth stethoscope to aid her studies.

Throughout her time at Bendigo Kangan TAFE, Elise credited her teachers as a “critical factor” to her success as a nursing student.

“The teachers were awesome. Because I’m deaf their teaching in the classroom incorporated interpreters and videos along with the simulated labs and manikins.That gave me good hands-on experience, which is where I learnt a lot,” Elise said.

“My advice to others is, whatever you put your mind to, you can do it, no matter what your disability or where you come from, just do it.”

“When I was in High School, I had this dream to become a paramedic, and I’d met paramedics along the way in my life. They’ve all advised me to do nursing first, to have that to fall back onto.

“In the future with my career, I hope to be working in remote rural areas. I have an interest in Indigenous health and communities.”

One of her teachers at TAFE, nurse educator Sue Kirby said Elise was determined to succeed throughout the entirety of her program.

“She was very motivated in sourcing herself a stethoscope which enabled her to connect it to her hearing aids via Bluetooth,” Ms Kirby said.

“Elise has great empathy for the people she cares for, and this was evident in her first clinical placement during her studies.”

Elise was also accepted into St John of God’s graduate nursing program where she has also made a positive impact on patients and staff.

St John of God hospital learning and development coordinator Trevor Aicken said they were impressed with Elise’s contribution to the hospital.

“Elise can gain the trust and respect of patients, families and staff,” Mr Aicken said.

“She continues to exhibit a strong work ethic, with a high standard of patient care, being very capable within her scope of practice.”

The winner of the state Vocational Student of the Year will be announced at a gala dinner in Melbourne on August 24, with the winner to receive $5000 in prize money.

They will then become Victoria’s nominee for the Australian Vocational Student of the Year Award, part of a national program which recognises individuals and organisations for their contributions, which will be announced in November.

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