Diploma of Nursing

“Nursing is so broad and varied. The options are varied and the potential to keep learning and further my knowledge and skills is endless.”

Elke Hardy has a message for those looking to return to study. She said, “If you decide to return to study, do it well.”

Elke returned to study as a mature age student in January 2015 when she enrolled in Box Hill Institute’s Diploma of Nursing course. Her reasons were aspirational as well as practical. She said, “I thought it was a great introduction to nursing, as opposed to taking on the three year Bachelor Degree costing anywhere around $30,000.

“My husband and I have three young children so it was hard enough dropping to one income and study full time. I had to minimise the risks as much as possible,” she said.

Although Elke had studied a Diploma of Health Sciences about 20 years ago, she found many of the nursing subjects quite similar. She said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the course. I expected there to be a lot more content on anatomy, physiology, medications and more acute placement hours.

“There were many times I felt like dropping out, not because the course was difficult but because of everything else I was trying to juggle at the same time. But they [the teachers] encouraged me to push through. It was very hard, but I’m so proud of myself for completing it!” she said.

Elke applied for and was accepted into the Box Hill Epworth Eastern Scholarship program for students, which she began in mid-2016. She said, “My first rotation has been in Oncology where there is so much to learn and it’s constantly changing. It’s an incredibly busy ward where our patients are very sick. A lot become palliative, they often have multiple comorbidities and our care can switch from treatment to palliative in a relatively short space of time,” she said.

Elke said, “My time at Box Hill Institute prepared me with great basic nursing skills. I think the thing that probably surprised me the most (and there is a lot) is the amount of drug knowledge required to work in nursing. You only learn a very basic level in the Diploma course; once you’re working it is up to you to constantly keep learning and improving your knowledge. It is essential as drug errors can very easily occur if you’re knowledge isn’t thorough.”

The best thing about studying at Box Hill Institute, said Elke, is the support she had from the teachers. And for those thinking about studying nursing she recommends, “Actively surround yourself with people who are focussed, determined, studious, good fun and supportive. These are people who you will develop friendships with, they will help you stay focussed, pick you up if you fall down, support you when you need it and push you to study harder.

“The course covers a lot in 18 months and it moves very quickly. The Diploma of Nursing is a great step into a career in nursing as all enrolled nurses are now medication and intravenous endorsed. If you work hard, you’ll be employable,” she said.

Check out her course