Hervey Bay's Emma McCarthy, 23, graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing Science and is working in Monto after securing a graduate registered nurse position with the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service.
Hervey Bay's Emma McCarthy, 23, graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing Science and is working in Monto after securing a graduate registered nurse position with the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service.

Sick loved one leads to new career for Bay woman

HERVEY Bay's Emma McCarthy was exposed to a side of healthcare which ignited a passion that changed the direction of her life after her fiance was hospitalised.

The 23-year-old's initial plan was to become a teacher but, after her partner suffered a serious eye condition, the recent University of the Sunshine Coast graduate swapped the classroom for the hospital ward.

Not only did Ms McCarthy achieve a Bachelor of Nursing Science she received a University Commendation for Academic Excellence at the graduation ceremony this month.

The former Urangan State High School student's results secured her a graduate registered nurse position with the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and she is working at their facility in Monto.

"I originally went to university to study education, but when my fiancé ended up in a Brisbane hospital I was exposed to a side of healthcare I had never experienced before," Ms McCarthy said.

"Something clicked when I saw him being taken care of by the nurses and I knew I had finally found something I was truly passionate about," she said.

"I changed my enrolment and, before I knew it, I was practising on mannequins at the university's nursing science labs and going on clinical placements within the Fraser Coast."

She said it was a wonderful feeling to now be working as a registered nurse and being able to put the theory into practice after three years of study and placements.

Her new role involves provide nursing care to patients at the Monto Health Service, a rural facility with 14 acute care beds.

"Being a small hospital, we also manage emergency presentations, attend to outpatient appointments and dispense emergency medication to the public when the local chemist is closed," said Ms McCarthy, who will complete a 12-month contract with the health service.

"Rural nursing is challenging however I am learning so much. I am just trying to see as much as I can and soak up as much information and experience as possible.

"The most rewarding aspect is seeing a difference in patients' well being and health after they are discharged. It's a nice feeling knowing that I played a part."

A highlight of the degree was being selected to take part in USC's accredited international nursing placement in Indonesia to help deliver essential health care in remote villages in Java.

"While it was definitely a big culture shock, I gained invaluable experience, made some amazing friends and learnt a lot about myself in a short amount of time," Ms McCarthy said.