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COVID-19 career queen: Why this nurse decided to upskill

This article appears in: Health, Nursing and Midwifery
CDU student Robyn Bennett at work

Faced with a mandatory quarantine and more clinical unknowns at work, registered nurse Robyn decided the time was right to return to uni and do a postgraduate nursing course. And thanks to the flexibility of online study, she’s been able to finish it quickly and fit it in with her work commitments.

Time spent working on an acute medical and surgical unit influenced Robyn’s choice to specialise in acute care.

“I found myself dealing with more clinical situations and diseases at work that I hadn’t experienced before, so knew that I’d benefit from further postgraduate study,” she says. “I wanted to increase my knowledge and skills in this area and build on my cultural and clinical nursing skills.”

Finding the time for study

CDU student Robyn Bennett with her nursing colleagues

Robyn’s ‘aha’ moment came while watching Netflix. She was in Bali when the first round of COVID-19 travel of restrictions were announced in Australia. After hotfooting it home, she had to complete mandatory quarantine.

“I felt like I was wasting far too much time sitting around and wanted to do something more beneficial,” she says.

I’d considered studying a postgraduate nursing course for a while, but right then seemed like the perfect time to apply.

Her quarantine down time didn’t last long, which is why being able to study her postgraduate nursing course online was a big plus. It gave her the flexibility to work while finishing the course at her own pace. 

Being able to study a postgraduate nursing certificate in a short, intensive time frame was great for me. It only took 12 weeks to finish and was mostly online.

"That meant I only had to slightly adjust my work hours temporarily until I finished my qualification,” she says.

“My workplace was really supportive because they encourage all their nurses to seek ways to further their personal and professional development. My partner was supportive too.  

"He understood that I’d be preoccupied for a few months but, after that, our normal life would resume.”

Dusting off the study cobwebs

Despite her concerns about “being dusty’” at returning to study, Robyn quickly found her rhythm and excelled in class. She built on her existing time management skills and transferred her theory study straight into practice at work.

As a nurse, you never stop learning. I’ve been able to take my new found knowledge and skills and immediately apply them to my day-to-day work and better patient care.

"A postgrad certificate has also opened up more doors professionally, preparing me for a wider range of roles as my career progresses.”

“I truly believe that anyone can complete tertiary study and do well if they put their minds to it,” she says. “There are so many online postgraduate nursing courses available at CDU, so there’s something for everyone and there’s lots of guidance available from university staff.”

A bright future

While Robyn is currently very happy working in acute care, she’s not finished with study yet. In fact, if anything the course has whet her appetite to learn more.

“I’m very eager to recommence my studies and broaden my scope in the near future by completing a master’s degree in public health,” she says.

CDU offers a wide range of online postgraduate nursing courses, that can be completed in as little as six months. Explore courses.

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