CQUniversity Nursing and Midwifery alumnus Nickey Pilgrim began her study journey over a decade ago.
Upon completing her undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing degree back in 2009' she landed a job as a nurse at the Gympie Private Hospital.
"My undergraduate degree was done externally with my residential schools done at Noosa'"
After relocating to Airlie Beach in 2016 and taking a short time off from nursing' Nickey said she couldn't stay away from the profession for too long and ended up working at Proserpine District Hospital in 2017.
After years working as a nurse and with a burning desire to become a midwife' in 2019' Nickey returned to study - 10 years after completing her undergraduate degree.
"I've always gravitated to nursing' with the long-term plan to be a midwife'"
Mrs Pilgrim said.
"It was only a matter of time before I enrolled in CQUs Bachelor of Midwifery (Graduate Entry)."
At the end of 2020' the wife and mother of four gained her midwifery qualification and immediately landed a position as a midwife.
No less than one year later' she's been awarded the Proserpine Hospital's annual Isabel Morris Memorial Award which recognises an outstanding local midwife for their dedication and contributions to the health of women' babies and families across the Whitsunday region.
"Wowsers - this was extremely emotional for me'"
Mrs Pilgrim said.
"I have heard many beautiful stories and memories of Isabel Morris and was in awe of the legacy she has left behind. I never considered myself someone who would be on the receiving end of such an award."
Nickey said she would not have received the award if it wasn't for the support of her family.
"They were and still are the world's best cheerleaders'"
"They have always been very excited with each new experience I have gained and it's always really nice to share the highs with them.
"My husband is a saint. He took on the role of mum and dad when I was gone at crazy hours' often not home to take the babies to school - and he just did it' mostly without complaining.
"He'd also diligently read each of my assignments before I'd submit them so he too could qualify as a nurse'"
Nickey provided some insightful advice for aspiring midwives.
"Follow your heart and listen to your gut. Prioritise your learning. You have to be at peace with putting your social life on hold for the duration of your studies. Getting high distinctions is fabulous' but honestly you just need a pass' use your time during placement to shine and shine bright."
And once you get through it' Nickey says nothing beats delivering a healthy baby into the world.
"It is so rewarding. It is an absolute privilege to be part of the most incredible experience a woman will go through. To empower and encourage women is the most satisfying thing I have ever experienced in my life."