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CQUni Knows Jessica

Get to know Jessica

My name is Jessica Whalley and I am working towards a Bachelor of Nursing.

I started studying at the beginning of 2015 with CQUniversity. At that point in my life, I had a young child at the time and was pregnant with my second. I decided to start studying so that I had something for myself and had a career once the children were grown up. I thought it was good to do something for myself, outside of being a mother.

Before I started studying, I was a stay-at-home mum originally, and before that I was in the pharmacy industry, just as a pharmacy assistant. To be honest, I did start a paramedic degree as well, because I wanted to help in emergency situations. I found that really interesting at the time but not really a lot of career prospects out there for that. So, I transferred to nursing just for the variety of different fields and areas I could go into, especially with the children.

My motivation for becoming a nurse… I am quite a compassionate, caring person, so I like helping other people. I also studied nursing because it has a variety of career options and fields. I also like the anatomy and physiology behind it, and understanding how the body works. I didn’t have an idea what nursing was going to be like. I had seen a lot of nurses in the mental health field, but not the clinical side of it necessarily.

I’d heard through one of my sisters who had studied at CQUniversity that it had a good reputation. That was important because I knew that to get a position in the field once I finished, I needed a university with a good reputation. I’d also heard from my other sister who had CQUniversity students working with her on placement. [She said] They were always great students that were willing to get in there and help. I also chose it for the distance education and the flexibility. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to be a nurse or do this career path without the University having that distance component.

I generally wait until the kids are asleep and study for an hour or two at night. That is my main study time. When the children are in daycare and I’m not working, I can really knuckle down on my studies, but that doesn’t happen often. I could go to lectures, however, I enjoy spending time with the children while they are young, so would prefer to study while they sleep. I can watch lectures on my phone wherever I am out. You can do it wherever, whenever. A lecture wouldn’t really be practical for me because I can’t get there. The fact that I could study online was definitely a big factor.

The online offering was convenient and easy to navigate. The majority of it is online, except for the residential schools, which I find really great. We do clinical skills – that was definitely a big factor for me. I think that with a lot of online courses, you worry that they’re not a reputable course at the end of the day. But I know that CQUniversity has a good reputation and I will definitely get a job in the field when I finish.

I definitely feel like I’m part of the community because you’re always watching the lectures. They’ve also got Zoom tutorials where you are all there online. So, you’re in contact with other students online a lot. There are a lot of forums where you can get advice and talk to other students. The other contact would be in the residential schools, where you talk to a lot of other students about the course and how you’re going.

You get a lot of support from the University. The Academic Learning Centre was really great. You can send off your assignments to them and get referencing tips and advice. I think CQUniversity is definitely a friendly community, especially if you post on a forum – everyone’s always going to help you find the right advice or the right path.

Lecturers at CQUniversity are all great. They’re all very friendly and supportive of your learning. All the ones I’ve met so far are working in the field still, so you’ve got up-to-date knowledge in the clinical aspect of nursing. I do feel like the course is practical. With the residential schools, you go into a lab that’s set up and you do all your clinical skills, before going out into placement. You have placements throughout your course.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a forensic scientist, so it was a bit of a different career path, but I as I got older, after having children, I realised that how much I like caring for people and being compassionate and helping people in need. When the children were younger, there were a few times where they were in hospital and I saw how the nurses dealt with the situation. And I really wanted to do that, I guess, help out young children that are in that situation.

I am very interested in paediatric or neonatal nursing. I am also interested in emergency nursing or ICU. There are so many different areas of nursing you can choose that I think I will work in many different fields. That’s something I’m really looking forward to, having variety in my career.

The course generally targets all areas throughout life, but at the end you can specialise in maternal or you can do an elective in maternal. But I think I’ll just do a graduate position in a paediatric ward.

What I love most about nursing is helping people. I also like seeing the gory stuff, like wounds and gross things (I guess because I don’t really have much time to watch television!) – I’m not squeamish! I mean, I love learning about the human body, and the idea of being in an emergency situation and staying calm in that moment to save a life.

I am definitely glad about my decision to study at CQUniversity. I don’t think I could have found a more supportive, practical university catering to my needs, especially with children. Being able to choose my subjects and how long the degree took me was really beneficial for me.