International nursing student Kalpana was preparing to study in the health sector. “I studied biology, chemistry, and physics – that’s the combination from which we can move into the health sector in my home country, Sri Lanka,” she says. “I was offered a scholarship to study science, but ultimately decided against it because I wanted to work with people and living things, not mathematics!”
It was human interaction that made studying nursing in Australia attractive to Kalpana. “Most of the time you’re the one to have contact with the patients. The doctors are asking you what’s going on with the patient – they’ll do their own investigation, but you are also the eyes.”
Studying nursing at Flinders
“Flinders offered me a graduate entry-degree to do nursing. Usually, it takes three years –I’m on a fast-track and doing it in two. That’s a lot to do in two years.” Despite the pace, Kalpana enjoyed the course. “It’s a really, dynamic, vibrant course.”
Alongside academic study, practical hands-on training has been important. “You have to be very confident in your practicing as a nurse, so getting that hands-on experience is vital.”
Flinders nursing students are partially based in the Flinders Medical Centre, which means they’re able to start gaining practical experience and observe medical practitioners immediately. As well as this in-hospital experience, students also take part in practical laboratory classes.
“In the laboratories, the equipment is very good, and the tutors are super confident in teaching,” says Kalpana of her lecturers. “They are enthusiastic teachers, we can ask anything from them.” Kalpana feels she received a comprehensive education in nursing, which will prepare her to start work upon graduation.
Discover how you can begin your Flinders Nursing degree online in 2021, and find out if you are eligible for our $1000 technology bursary – here.
As the global COVID-19 health crisis continues to disrupt economies and claim lives it has also heightened the need for health workers to upskill in their nursing careers and help carry the burden of the pandemic.
Flinders nursing graduates, like Ruri Yamamoto, experienced this for themselves, finding paid work opportunities in Adelaide while the rest of the workforce and state was in lockdown. Ruri took up a position with a drive-through COVID-19 testing station, swabbing patients for the disease and gaining invaluable practical experience.
“This job really needs everyone working with each other as a team. This is very important in a clinic, and especially when everything changes every day,” Ruri says. Discover Ruri’s story – here.
With the global pandemic disrupting universities across the globe, most of Flinders’ nursing work placements have continued throughout this tumultuous year.
As a result, students have boosted the health workforce by providing an extra pair of hands, while gaining invaluable practical experience in real-world settings.
“When I was doing my placement, I heard people saying that Flinders graduates – especially nursing graduates – have a high demand in the industry,” Kalpana says. “They have a good reputation, especially in South Australia. So I’m glad I had the opportunity to study at Flinders. I think it’s a really good choice.”
Flinders offers undergraduate and postgraduate nursing degrees that can lead to working in a large variety of health care environments, not just hospitals. For Kalpana, her plan for the future is to find a role in intensive care. “I feel like it’s a responsible role. Intensive care is a really complex, dynamic, and vibrant job – you have to keep an eye on your patient all the time.”
Kalpana moved to Adelaide to study, while her family stayed in Melbourne, and she’s loving the change. “I would say this is better than Melbourne – everything is nearby and the weather is really good,” she says definitively. Initially concerned about the move interstate, she soon relaxed into her choice. “As soon as I moved here I knew I’d made the right decision.”
There are plenty of reasons Adelaide is one of the top ten most liveable cities in the world*, and Kalpana enjoyed discovering them. “I’ve visited lots of places and there are plenty of nice experiences you can have.”
Discover ways to keep busy and cool in an Adelaide summer – here.
Kalpana says she found it easy to settle into the community in Adelaide, both within the uni and wider society. “There’s a really big Sri Lankan community here, they are very welcoming.” The international student quickly found her comfort zone.
“When you come to Australia without friends and family, you can find them here – not just with the Sri Lankan population. You will make friends with people from all over the world, and especially Australians,” she says happily. “I have friends from several countries here. We do big group chats, we have placements together, and have lots of fun going out. I don’t feel like it’s lonely here.”
Adelaide’s greenest campus
Before settling on Flinders, Kalpana did important research on YouTube. She and her husband saw a video of the amazing Bedford Park Hub, and her heart was set.
“I said to my husband ‘that’s a really good environment to be in’. Not just a place you’re studying, but a place you can have a life in,” she says. Kalpana knew the beautiful campus and great facilities would make her two years of hard studying more enjoyable.
“I love the hub and plaza, I come here for no reason because I love it!”
Modern facilities are also essential to Kalpana’s learning as a nurse. “We also have great laboratory facilities, we have amazing mannequins – some mannequins even blink and breathe!”
Advice for international students
For students interested in nursing, Kalpana explains, “If you want to study nursing this is the best place to come. They changed me, in two years, into a Registered Nurse and into a different career. I also think the weather, the people and the places that you can visit and enjoy in Adelaide are more than enough reasons why you should choose Flinders.”
Learn more about studying Nursing at Flinders University in South Australia – here.
Kalpana’s advice to future international students?
“If you want to swim, you have to jump into the water. You need a good coach to teach you – and Flinders will provide you the best guidance, support, and learning environment with modern equipment.”