A decade after leaving school' becoming a new mum made Alana Burke determined to take her career into nursing – but daunted by the prospect of university study' making it happen took a few important STEPS.
The Mackay admin manager had first dreamed of a career in health care as a teenager' but finishing school in Year 11 meant she wasn't eligible for further study.
As she welcomed her daughter' Alana experienced excellent and disappointing care through pregnancy and birth' and her passion for pursuing health care was rekindled.
"I wanted more than anything to be the person that women would talk about in their birthing story who helped them or made them feel strong; I wanted to be a midwife!" she said.
Realising she would need a nursing degree to go into midwifery' Alana said she "was gutted" initially' but determined to make it happen.
"I heard about the STEPS (Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies) course at CQUniversity' and it was a great chance to test myself – to see if I could juggle studying with working and caring for my baby'" she said.
The free pathway course supports students to develop the confidence' knowledge and skills needed to begin a university degree' and successful completion of STEPS offers a direct entry process to CQUniversity courses.
Alana took on STEPS in 2019 and said the support of passionate lecturers got her through.
"They were always willing to explain something again' check in with you if they had not heard much from you' and generally tell you that it was possible to complete the task assigned!" she said.
"Their feedback was always firm but encouraging' and the weekly reminder emails would lay out exactly what was needed' to make sure no deadlines had been missed or misunderstood."
Now a mum to two little ones' her success in STEPS meant Alana started her Bachelor of Nursing in 2021' and she said STEPS has helped her feel confident in her study skills.
"I'm now in second year Nursing' and I'm really proud to have overcoming that initial fear of failure' thanks to having a support network that was so visible and effective'" she said.
"The STEPS team were absolutely my cheerleaders for success' and I can't wait to be a cheerleader for more women in my career as a midwife."
CQUniversity's STEPS program is available to study full-time for six months' or part-time over one year' with options to study online across Australia' or on campus in Brisbane' Bundaberg' Cairns' Gladstone' Mackay' Rockhampton and Townsville.
Applications are now open to study in Term 2 2022' visit cqu.edu.au/STEPS for more information and to apply.