Refugee scholarship sets Rahma on path to career in nursing

Released On: 03/08/2018

As a refugee, Rahma Omar knew that settling into a new country would not be easy, but with the help of Mater Education, Rahma is now feeling confident and ready to start her nursing career.

In Sudan, Rahma Omar lived with her grandparents and would look after their every need, as is customary in Sudanese culture.

“I would look after everything for them.  I learned to cook, do the washing and the shopping.  I learned a lot from them and they inspired in me a passion for nursing,” Rahma said.

After leaving Sudan for Egypt in 2003 and then arriving in Australia in 2004 Rahma concentrated on setting into a new country and looking after her children until 2013 when she applied for Mater Education’s Diploma of Nursing through a Refugee Scholarship and was successfully accepted onto the program.

As a single mum, Rahma took the challenges and complexities of semester one in her stride but the second semester didn’t go quite to plan.  Rahma was finding the semester particularly challenging when her father tragically passed away in Sudan.  She took two weeks off the course to return to Sudan to pay her respects to her father and on returning to Australia felt she was struggling to get through.

Mater Education’s Director of Learning and Development Katherine Jackman said they recognised Rahma’s struggles and were keen to help.

“We put further support in place through providing Rahma with mentors from Mater Education to guide and encourage her through her studies,” Katherine said.

“Although Rahma didn’t pass the second semester we were able to organise for her to repeat the semester with the additional support in place.”

Rahma’s mentors proved to be the impetus she needed and the moment she stepped onto the stage to receive her Diploma of Nursing certificate was one of her proudest moments.

“It was such an exciting moment.  I couldn’t believe it and it felt like I was dreaming,” Rahma said.

“I am so thankful and grateful to everyone at Mater Education for the confidence, the opportunities, the doors they have opened to me.

“Before I wasn’t confident and I can’t thank the tutors enough for giving their time to me on this amazing journey.”

Talking about the things that set Mater Education apart from other providers Rahma lists clinical excellence, confidence and critical thinking skills and communication.

And her top tips for Diploma of Nursing students are to: be patient; learn how to deal with stress; plan well to ensure you have enough time for family and study; and always ensure you get eight hours of sleep!

Rahma is currently studying a Bachelor of Nursing at QUT which she is due to complete in July 2019 but she is already thinking about her future.

“I love babies, and would love to be with babies, so I would love to be a midwife,” Rahma said.

“Given my background I have experienced women having a tough time and not feeling strong.  I would like to help them to learn how to protect themselves, their kids and their future and to share my experiences with them to help them find the strength they need.”

Rahma will always be grateful to Mater Education for starting her on her nursing career and currently works as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) at Mater Cancer Care Centre while completing her undergraduate studies.

“I love Mater.  I had my first baby at Mater, I got my first qualification through Mater and also got my first job at Mater!”