My name is Edwina and I am an Australian born-Chinese Cambodian who grew up in South-Western Sydney. I completed my HSC at Canley Vale High School and was luckily enough to receive an offer at UTS Bachelor of Nursing, being my #1 preference for many years throughout high school.
My present identity has been shaped from my family and their history as both my parents were born and raised in the country sides of Cambodia, living completely different lives in comparison to myself. As both of them migrated to Australia due to war, they both had to sacrifice their education and dream careers. Their stories certainly inspired me to make them proud and be the first person ever in my family to attend university.
Although 12-year-old me originally wanted to become a singer or actress, I eventually grew up to have a passion in health and science through school – loving anything in relation to the human body and the way it works. Alongside this, since I was young I’ve had this empathetic, caring nature towards people, in ensuring that they are happy, safe and healthy. I’ve always tended to place people first because I want to help make their lives worthwhile. I also wanted to pursue a career that was challenging, exciting yet rewarding with endless opportunities. Nursing was the perfect option.
I chose to study nursing at UTS because it's ranked no.1 in Australia and it has an amazing nursing reputation. After attending the Health U@Uni summer school program in Year 11, I immediately fell in love with the world-class clinical simulation labs as well as the university campus. The labs depict a real-life hospital setting with high technology equipment and it looks very new and engaging to work in. I love the number of hours of clinical placement offered each year, as well as the option to choose a specialty area you might like to work in in third year – for example, critical care, perioperative nursing, paediatric nursing, or mental health.
Other than that, I also love the social aspect of UTS; I love how multicultural the people are, the number of clubs and societies to get involved in, the short distance from Central station and the food places all around!
Nursing has taught me how to believe in myself and grow as a person. It has definitely made me step out of my comfort zone and do things I never thought I would be able to do. Although the workload in nursing is quite intense, I enjoy studying something I love. It really makes it easier to be resilient and persevere through those difficult times, which becomes really exciting because I take every lab class or tutorial as a step closer to my career. I really love the clinical placements because it's then I feel like an actual nurse, and it is the time where I can really help patients and their families in need by putting a smile to their faces.
"It is so humbling that even the small acts of kindness that student nurses give to people can make a huge impact . Seeing patients recover is ultimately the most rewarding thing ever, and that makes me feel like the happiest person in the world because I was a part of it."
I’ve realised that nursing is so much more than hands-on clinical things. There’s a lot of theory that comes with it, so when someone’s sick I know I have a strong foundation of nursing skills to apply. For example, when someone has the flu I’ll know what protective equipment to use and how to use it.
My advice for future students is to cherish every moment of nursing. Nursing school is going to be a huge rollercoaster with moments where you may feel like giving up, and moments where you absolutely love it. Take it one step at a time and don’t be so hard on yourself. Find time to have a social life, and also to pursue other interests. Do not leave assessments till last minute – prioritise! And definitely step out of your comfort zone to learn new skills during clinical placements.