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New nurse defies odds to help others


Ingham teenager Stevie Barrett almost died in 2018 after a horror quad bike accident. 

This week she graduated as an Enrolled Nurse through Mater Education's Diploma of Nursing program at Mater Private Hospital Townsville. 

Ms Barrett was one of 21 students who graduated from the Diploma in Townsville, critical in bolstering the healthcare workforce shortage across the state. 

The 19-year-old suffered 57 fractured bones, 12 broken bones, a collapsed lung and a lacerated spleen in her accident. She was hospitalised for two weeks before embarking on a long rehabilitation and recovery program.

Stevie in hospital after a quad bike crash

"I appreciated the care and compassion the nurses gave me," Ms Barrett said.  "I looked into working in healthcare as a way to help others – like the nurses that helped me."

Executive Director Mater Health Donna Bonney said the class of July 2022 would play a vital role in caring for Queenslanders for many years to come.

“COVID-19 has highlighted just how important nurses and other health professionals are to the community,” she said. 

“New Enrolled Nurse graduates are needed right across the healthcare industry and I know this group has a bright future ahead of them.

“These new nurses will go on to work in Mater hospitals and other hospitals across North Queensland and beyond.”

Ms Barrett learned about Mater Education's 18-month Diploma of Nursing program through her high school careers counsellor. 

She said the program’s hands-on approach attracted her to apply. 

"The Diploma is so practical and I learn best when I'm shown something. That's what I liked most about it," she said.

"I was also successful in applying for the Indigenous scholarship, which has taken some financial stress off my mum."

Mater Private Hospital Townsville Executive Officer Libbie Linley said Ms Barrett was amongst the third cohort of Mater Education’s Diploma of Nursing graduates in North Queensland.”

“All of our graduates are taught here on our health campus by experienced health professionals so they are ready to hit the ground running,” Ms Linley said.

“Mater Townsville doesn’t only recruit the best nurses – we train them too.”

Ms Barrett said she was the only person in her family to finish high school, making her even prouder of her achievements. She said she couldn't have done it without support.

"The Mater educators have been really supportive and they've helped me through hard times," she said. 

Ms Barrett’s dream is to gain employment as a community nurse in rural and remote parts of Australia. 

If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, applications are now open for the next intake of Mater Education’s Diploma of Nursing. 

Apply today to start studying in Townsville in January 2023: https://mater.li/ApplyForDoN

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