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Flight attendant to nurse: Louise’s Mater Education journey kicks into new gear

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After 36 years of working in the sky, Mater Education Diploma of Nursing student Louise Dingle is embarking on a new career as a nurse.

The 59-year-old recently completed her final placement through Mater Education and is awaiting her registration and final approval to practise as an enrolled nurse. 

Louise did her placements in elderly care, at Mater’s Oncology Unit and at the Murgon Hospital in the Emergency Department and ward. 

She said her experience in Murgon and Cherbourg will stay with her forever.

“I looked after elderly patients and people with serious conditions, it was great training and you just have to be a jack of all trades in a rural hospital,” she said.

“Due to factors such as remoteness, health literacy, no transport and financial difficult, Indigenous people tend to only come to hospital when they are very ill and so associate going to hospital with dying.

“I am passionate about preventative health in marginalised communities, having been a refugee advocate for 20 years.”

Louise said she is open to any nursing opportunity but has a strong desire to work in Indigenous health. 

“My dream would be to be a Mater nurse and also work somehow with the Murgon Hospital and the Cherbourg community,” she said. 

“They have invited me back to work at the hospital once I am registered which is so wonderful. 

“I would also like to be a travel nurse as I like supporting people who are isolated from health services due to geography– that’s where I believe the greatest health change can happen.”

Louise said her Diploma has been a ride to remember, especially studying in the thick of COVID-19. 

“I left my beloved crew job at Qantas because I wanted to help my country in the pandemic,” Louise said.

“The transition into the healthcare world from flying was an incredible experience but it was not easy! 

“My advice to everyone is to make that big and bold decision, follow that thing inside of you that won’t stop nagging and don’t put an age on yourself!”