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How single parent Sharni is getting her nursing degree

This article appears in: Changing careers, Nursing and Midwifery, Online study
Sharni holding her son, Loki, in a field

Sharni Woods knows all too well that being a mum is a full time job. With an active two year old, she has little time to herself. But that hasn’t stopped her reaching for her goals. Sharni’s currently studying an online nursing degree at CDU.

“As a single parent, my son Loki is solely dependent on me,” says Sharni. “He’s only in daycare one day a week so attending classes has never been an option.

I needed self-paced study that slots in around caring for my boy.

CDU’s online nursing degree has ticked those boxes for Sharni, plus many more. She’s now successfully juggling her studies with a chatty toddler in tow.

“The ongoing communication with lecturers means the study is really interactive. I’ve been fully supported in everything and never felt pressure to go at a certain pace," she says.

I pretty much go as fast or slow as I want, or as Loki allows!

“Constant access to resources and recorded lectures means I can easily revise or check things later. That’s particularly useful for those times when Loki’s distracting me while I’m trying to study.”

Sleepy study and ice-cream bribes

Loki sleeping next to Sharni's laptop and notebook
Sharni recently won a CDU Instagram competition with her entry that reflected her #CDUstudyspace. The picture shows her laptop and notebook on the bed, accompanied by her sleeping son.

Sleepy toddler and study space often become one as Sharni works through her online nursing degree.

“It’s often easier to work in bed when Loki’s asleep on me” she says. “But, it’s not uncommon for him to be doing cartwheels while I’m doing an assessment and there’s definitely been some ice cream bribes to keep him quiet!

“I think for most mums it’s often easier to study or listen to lectures at night. It’s actually nice to have that bit of me time, particularly on those days when you haven’t left the house.”

Sharni’s little motivator

Loki is the one of the main reasons that Sharni’s returned to study an online nursing degree. A solid career path in nursing and financial security means she can provide for his future and give him the best opportunities.

It also means that, once Loki starts school in three years, she’ll have her own identify and career. She won’t be feeling like she’s lost her purpose. “I won’t be thinking, now what?”

When Sharni graduates, she’d like to work as a hospital nurse specialising in aneasthetics. However, her nursing degree has shown her how many other career opportunities are out there if she changes her mind. It’s been a nice surprise, but it’s not been the only one.

“There are so many subjects that have caught my attention that I never thought I’d be interested in,” she says. “I’m currently fascinated with learning about bones and blood!”

Sharni’s commitment and attitude guarantees a brighter future for her and her son. For now, she’s thankful Loki gave her the biggest motivation to study. And she’s thankful that he’s, quite literally, by her side.

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