1. Home
  2. Back to News and events News and events
  3. From homeless to healthcare hero, Christie pursues dream career

Share this page

Share on a platform

Or copy the page link

From homeless to healthcare hero, Christie pursues dream career


A once homeless Townsville woman who received a scholarship to study nursing has turned her life around graduating with a Diploma of Nursing through Mater Education.

Christie Mitchell, 43, received Mater’s first Hardship Scholarship in Townsville to help her study the 18-month course and was among 18 students who celebrated their graduation on Wednesday 26 July.

Ms Mitchell, 43, moved to Townsville nine years ago, but when her brother died after a battle with cancer she went through a “rough patch”.

“I ended up being homeless for several years after he passed away. I turned my back on the family and was couch surfing and sleeping in my car,” Ms Mitchell said.

However, after “doing it tough” for years, Ms Mitchell made amends with her mum and decided to make a fresh start.

“I knew I could do more with my life,” Ms Mitchell said. 

“The scholarship helped motivate me to keep going.”

Ms Mitchell enrolled in the Diploma of Nursing course after her mum underwent shoulder surgery at Mater Private Hospital Townsville two years ago.

“I enrolled online the day I took mum in. The nursing team who looked after mum were caring, competent and helpful. That motivated me to study again,” she said.

“I completed my Certificate III in Individual Support a few years ago and I thought ‘I can do better than that’.”

Ms Mitchell works at Loreto Nursing Home and hopes to one day work as a Registered Nurse specialising in palliative care at Mater Private Hospital Townsville.

“I have spent many years looking after members of my family,” she said.

“I was two years old when my dad had a diving accident, so we were home a lot together. After his accident he was in a wheelchair, and I guess looking after him set me up for life.”

Mater Education Townsville Team Lead Tara Walton congratulated the students who attended the graduation held at the hospital’s conference centre.

“Christie is the first student in Townsville to have been awarded the Hardship Scholarship,” Ms Walton said.

“This scholarship is absolutely life changing, and allowed Christie to focus on her studies, alleviating some of the financial strain that study and work has on students. It has allowed her to enter the workforce with no student loan to pay off.”

“At Mater Education, we have a strong bond with Mater Health, and look forward to seeing these graduates as peers in the workplace.”

Enquire now to study a Diploma of Nursing in Townsville in 2024: https://mater.li/ApplyForDoN