SuniTAFE Nurses ready for the Workforce

26 Aug 2022

SuniTAFE’s newest group to complete the Diploma of Nursing and register as enrolled nurses will always be reminded of the pandemic when they think back on the time, they completed their qualification.

Beginning their (HLT54115) Diploma of Nursing at the SuniTAFE Mildura campus in the middle of 2020, 12 students studied and worked throughout most of the pandemic and recently completed their final placement ahead of beginning employment in the health sector within Mildura, Bendigo and surrounding areas.

SuniTAFE Diploma of Nursing teacher Michelle Dent said she couldn’t have been prouder of the students.

“I am very proud of all of them and very happy they achieved what they have done through COVID and to now have all gained employment,” she said.

“To be a nurse you need to have resilience and the ability to adapt quickly and by studying throughout a pandemic, these students have proven they have those skills.”

Michelle said the qualification is a fantastic introduction to the health sector.

“We had a mixed array of students, from those fresh out of high school to a few mothers who have always wanted to be a nurse but felt now was the right time with their children at school,” she said.

“This qualification allows them to begin in the workforce as an Enrolled Nurse as soon as they have completed it, it is also an excellent pathway to go on to further study as an undergraduate in a Bachelor of Nursing.”

Sophie Vrybergen and Kira Forsyth are among the students who will be completing a transition to practice graduate year at the Mildura Base Public Hospital.

“With my mum a midwife, she always encouraged me to become a nurse and SuniTAFE not only gave me a pathway to completing undergraduate study but allowed for me to build my skills through a lot of hands-on learning,” Kira Forsyth said.

“All the skills and knowledge I have obtained over the past two years has really opened up my eyes to the opportunities there are as a nurse and the different career options I now have.”

Sophie Vrybergen echoed Kira’s thoughts.

“This is an excellent qualification to have obtained that allows for us to travel anywhere and practice and we know we will always have a job with many different opportunities and pathways to take,” Kira said.

“It had been 15 years since I studied last and I really enjoyed getting back into studying again and how well it has prepared me to attend university to complete my undergraduate degree in the future.”

While majority of the students have secured employment in Mildura, Krista Zappia has landed a job in mental health at Bendigo Health.

“I have always wanted to be a nurse and work in mental health so as soon as I finished school, I knew that this is the pathway I wanted to take,” she said.

“This qualification is just the beginning, there are so many options and pathways that we are able to take but it has set us up with the skills and knowledge of how to study and what is expected if we wanted to go on to do further study.

“I am excited for my new job in Bendigo and it’s nice to be able to stay regional but also allows me the opportunity to grow.”

The Education Delivery Manager for Nursing Julie Wilson commends all the students in Mildura and Swan Hill who have achieved their Diploma of Nursing through one of the toughest times she has seen as a Nursing Educator.

For those interested in becoming an Enrolled Nurse (EN) through SuniTAFE can find more information by visiting