Edwina started her career in aged care working with dementia patients, a job that was rewarding but very demanding.
“I ended up quite burnt out and needed a break, so I stepped away from the sector for a while,” she says. “My husband, who is a paramedic, was offered a job out west so we made the move and have been Western Queenslanders ever since.”
As the years rolled on, the call to nursing remained strong and Edwina became an enrolled nurse, but always intended to complete a Bachelor of Nursing Science to become a registered nurse.
“We lived in Cloncurry initially and at that time you couldn’t become a registered nurse by distance education. We had just started a young family so physically attending university wasn’t an option. I put my study plans on hold,” she says.
After a 15-year stint in Cloncurry raising her two children and working a few different jobs, the family decided to move to Mount Isa.
“By then my kids were older and more independent, the timing was right, so I started studying nursing at the JCU Mount Isa, Murtupuni campus,” she says.
“Being able to study at a campus made the whole experience more enjoyable, I think having the face-to-face contact with the lecturers and tutors makes a big difference.
“Being that bit older, I felt it took me a bit longer to get my head around some of the concepts around university study and, in terms of nursing, things had changed a lot. The basic skills hadn’t changed — the showering, the dressing, they never change. But the medications had, and going from an enrolled nurse to a registered nurse, the expectations in terms of responsibilities and knowledge went up a few notches.”
But she says her family, her biggest supporters, were behind her every step of the way. “My family were absolutely amazing; I couldn’t have done it without them.”