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Becoming a nurse while raising a family

Photo: Becoming a nurse while raising a family
After raising her five young daughters and one son through their early years, Coonamble resident Sarah O’Neil, decided she wanted to pursue her passion and a career as a nurse.

Ms O’Neil was aware of the 4% employment demand for trained nurses in Western NSW over the next three years and with some encouragement from her family, she successfully enrolled and completed a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) at TAFE NSW Coonamble through TAFE Western Connect and is now part-way through a Diploma of Nursing at TAFE NSW Dubbo.

“I’ve had plenty of personal experience with pregnancy and child birth and thought that midwifery would be the perfect fit for me,” Ms O’Neil said.

“I loved that I didn’t have to travel to attend TAFE NSW, the flexibility was ideal with young children. I was also able to learn everything I needed to complete work placement, which really reinforced that I was on the right career path.”
With an ageing population across Western NSW, health, wellbeing and community services is one of the top three employment areas expected to increase the most over the next three years with more than 6,000 jobs forecasted to be added.

“I’ve learnt a lot of hands-on skills that will be advantageous throughout my nursing career and further study in the Diploma of Nursing that I have commenced this year,” Ms O’Neil said.

“Within the next five years, I hope to be in a career I love, working as a midwife locally which will also ease the financial strain of raising six kids.”

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Nursing and Health, Letisha Finlay, had great admiration for Sarah’s ability to prioritise study along with the demands of raising a large family.

“Sarah embraced studying by video conference from TAFE NSW Coonamble and has immense determination for a successful career in nursing.

“She sets a wonderful example of students coming to TAFE NSW to launch their careers to be employed in a job they love in an industry that will continue to have a strong demand for trained workers,” Ms Finlay said.

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