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 There’s no rule that says your first career will be your last. For Allyse Ayling this moment came a lot earlier than most, as she swapped being a jeweller for a Nursing degree, but she couldn’t be happier with where it has led her.

Allyse moved away from her home town of Merimbula before she finished high school to take up a jewellery apprenticeship in Narooma. But after her position was made redundant she was left with some big decisions.

“I didn’t really know what to do because I thought that was going to be my career for life,” she says. “But after moving back home my mum encouraged me to find something I was passionate about and work towards getting a qualification.”

“I love caring for people. Growing up I had an older brother who was very unwell, so I was always in a hospital setting. I think the nurses were major role models for me,” she says. “In a way, this is a chance for me to give back to what they did for our family.”

To start her journey towards being a nurse Allyse enrolled in Cert III in Disabilities at South Coast Careers College followed by a Nursing Pathway to Uni program that included a university preparation bridging program at UOW’s Bega campus. It was during this program that Allyse got a glimpse of life as a uni student.

Allyse makes good use of the nursing labs on campus

UOW Bega nursing student Allyse Ayling. Photo: Paul Jones

“The course really opened my eyes,” Allyse says. “We had days at the uni where we used the labs and completed the course. It was great to be taught by a university lecturer in a university setting to get a feel for what it would be like.”

Having the chance to get familiar with the UOW campus in Bega made her transition to the Bachelor of Nursing at the start of 2017 a smooth one and has found the size of the campus to be a real positive.

“Because it’s smaller, there’s really good support and a lot more one-on-one time with the lecturers,” she says. “It’s also really good to have so many support networks on the one campus. You get to meet so many other people from all the other years and they’re really helpful as well.”

Now in her second semester of the degree, Allyse has found her feet and she’s enjoying her subjects.

“It’s challenging, that’s for sure. The first semester, I was working out what the expectations from each teacher were. The workload was also a bit more than I was used to,” she says. “But this semester I’m feeling more in control.”

It's quite amazing to be able to put what I learn into practice

Allyse Ayling

This newfound confidence is extending outside the classroom as Allyse is already putting her new skills to good use as a part-time disability worker for Connections Plus.

“I work with a patient who has serious medical conditions. It’s incredible to learn more about these different medical conditions and how I can use this knowledge to care for the patient better,” she says. “It’s quite amazing to be able to put what I learn into practice.”

Allyse has also done a professional placement at Bega Hospital and has seen firsthand how the nurses have to work together, which further confirmed her passion for nursing.

“At the moment, I think I want to specialise in a field within nursing – hopefully paediatric midwifery or potentially in the disability field,” Allyse says. “I’m not 100 per cent sure but there’s plenty of time to work that out.”

Home town is a series dedicated to telling the stories of students at regional UOW campuses.

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