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Student nurses unearth hidden gem in Bundaberg

Mater student nurses
Mater Education Diploma of Nursing students Chaumay Oui and Rebecca Benvenuti. Photo: contributed/Danien Berends.

Six student nurses – including a former jewellery worker – are polishing their practical skills during a placement at Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg. 

The Mater Education students are in their final months of their Diploma of Nursing course and opted to travel to Wide Bay to experience a regional hospital and engage with the local community. 

For Rebecca Benvenuti Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg was a golden opportunity in her path to becoming an enrolled nurse.  

“I thought a regional placement would be beneficial to giving me a broader set of experiences, while also giving me the time and support to absorb all of the finer details,” Rebecca said. 

“I also am interested in going regional long-term, so also getting a feel of what that looks like and feels like is really important.” 

The 51-year-old student worked in the jewellery industry prior to enrolling in the Diploma of Nursing and she said the skills she learnt would hold her in good stead for certain aspects of nursing. 

“If you went to your local jeweller and they were ordering your stones for an engagement ring, I’d be the one who’d pick those stones out, carefully match them, make sure they weigh right, that they’re the right colour and clarity, those sorts of things,” Rebecca said.  

“I loved it – it was very fine, very detail-oriented work – and hopefully all of that weighing will help me with my med counts and everything else!”

Her peer, Chaumay Oui originally started in aged care before enrolling in the Diploma of Nursing where she hopes to make a difference, particularly among the Indigenous population. 

“I don’t see many Indigenous nurses and I want to give back to my community,” Chaumay said. 

“I see myself as a drop in the pond, where I can create a ripple effect.

“I don’t like the stereotypes and statistics about Indigenous health, so instead of me dwelling on it, I want to help inspire change.”

The 24-year-old from Boronia Heights said her time at Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg would be a regional taste test. 

“I’ve only heard good things about working regionally – I just really want to challenge myself and see how it’s different to my experience at South Brisbane,” she said. 

“My mum’s family is from Mackay and Rockhampton, my dad is from Cairns, I have family in Townsville – I’d move in a heartbeat, to be honest.”

Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg General Manager Catherine Hackney said it was the biggest Diploma of Nursing cohort welcomed by the facility. 

“We were thrilled to hear six Mater Education Diploma of Nursing students requested a regional placement this term and were only too happy to give them a realistic experience of life at a regional hospital,” Catherine said. 

Mater Education’s Director of Learning and Development Toni-Maree Henaway said regional placements offer students a different perspective. 

“As a smaller, regional hospital, Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg has been able to give the students exposure to the unique challenges regional hospital face, as well as areas they may not have had guaranteed access to in metropolitan placements, such as surgical wards and operating theatres,” Toni-Maree said. 

The cohort will spend two weeks working in Brisbane following their two-week stint in Bundaberg and are due to graduate from Mater Education’s Diploma of Nursing in July. 

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