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Lily Ashburner first started experiencing health issues when she was nine years old. Fast forward 16 years later, she's a qualified Enrolled Nurse and is eager to help others who are in need of support.
The 25-year-old graduated from Mater Education's Diploma of Nursing program in Brisbane this week, along with more than 90 other students. It's been a long journey for Lily, whose health challenges were the catalyst for her enrolling in the Diploma.
"I was nine when I started getting painful periods and it got worse and worse until I was diagnosed with severe adenomyosis and endometriosis last year," she said.
"At 23 years old I had a hysterectomy which took a long time to come to terms with but I knew it would give me a better quality of life. It was the easiest and hardest thing I've ever done.
"When I was in the hospital I was looked after by a nurse who did the Diploma of Nursing with Mater and I thought 'I want to be a nurse like him' so I signed up to the program.
"Being in hospital can be frightening and lonely so I see being a nurse as an opportunity to care for patients in a multi-faceted way through their healthcare journeys."
Lily applied for the financial hardship scholarship offered through Mater Education which made a big difference to her experience, as did her relationship with the cohort.
"I haven't been able to work much because of the pain I was in so the scholarship took the financial pressure off me," she said.
"Everyone has been so supportive and the educators have been amazing. I've enjoyed learning with like-minded people, my classmates have taught me so much as well.
"I was also fortunate enough to be elected as a student representative which allowed me to see the behind the scenes of the Diploma and be a voice for students."
Lily said she's ecstatic that she's reached the end of the 18-month program, even securing a job in Mater's graduate program in the Young Adults Health Centre for February 2023.
"When I signed up to the Diploma I didn't think I could ever do it but I've proven myself wrong," she said.
"I was amazed that I was offered a position at Mater looking after people with complex health needs, it's something I'm really interested in.
"I'm really proud of myself. The program has made me feel more confident in myself and in my practice."
Are you passionate about helping others, too? Apply for the Diploma of Nursing today and start studying in January 2023: https://mater.li/ApplyForDoN
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