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The career that she was meant for: Helen’s health care pathway

Training and skills case study

Helen Panagopoulos is currently an enrolled nurse (EN) and is now also studying to become a registered nurse (RN). Since completing her Diploma in Nursing, she only has two years of study left before earning her Bachelor’s degree.

“My diploma was a good test to see if I was cut out for a nursing career. I was a mature-age student, so I was a little nervous,” she recalls. 

Helen Panagopoulos case study

“As soon as I walked into the classroom and saw there were people from all walks of life and age ranges, that helped me settle in.”

Taking on a diploma meant that Helen could move directly into the second year of her three-year degree, bringing her closer to realising her goals.

Although the job can be demanding, Helen is grateful for the support she’s received. Finding a work-study balance has helped her learn more while putting those skills into action.

“My workplace has been so supportive,” she says. “Whether it’s through rostering or taking educational leave, there’s always options to make sure I’m getting the best of both worlds.”

While she’s always had an interest in health care, Helen has found the more she practices as an EN, the more she loves the job and all it offers.

She explains, “With this profession, there’s only so much you can read in a book. I’m grateful for all the hands-on placement opportunities and how different they are.”

“During my most recent placement, I got to see how nurses can carry out hospital care in patients’ homes.”

Helen’s health care dream is to work in the operating theatre helping with patient recovery – but it doesn’t stop there.

She continues, “You can go into management roles, work in theatre, or stick to bedside treatment if that’s your interest. The possibilities are limitless.”

Studying helped Helen to feel sure that nursing was the career she was meant for, and she thinks it could be the same for others.

“We always need more nurses! It might feel daunting when you’re starting out, but in this job, you’re honestly never alone. The other nurses on your ward are there to back you up and support you, it’s a beautiful community.”