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From combat to care; Ingham graduate registered nurse reflects on new career

Published:  29 July 2020

At the start of 2020, registered nurse Anthony Andrews picked up his life and joined the Ingham community for his graduate year of nursing. Six months on, he has reflected on his time in the rural town, and how it has made him a better nurse.

As a mature-aged student, Anthony went into nursing after coming to a crossroads in his life.

“I was in the RAAF for seven years full time and trained in ground combat which is a totally different spectrum,” he said.

“After a lot of thinking I realised I wanted to do something else with my life and decided to completely change direction.

“I enrolled at the University of Southern Queensland where I studied nursing full time before finally settling for my graduate year in Ingham.”

Anthony said when deciding where to spend his graduate year, Ingham stood out. 

“I feel like rural communities have more heart; everyone says hi, they stop and talk, they’re genuine,” Anthony said.

“For my grad year I received a few offers, one of which was in Ingham, so I googled and saw it had a strong Italian community; I thought if they love wine and pasta, I’m in.

“I love the town, it’s truly beautiful and the surrounding countryside around the town is majestic, the hospital fits in perfectly. I’ve even had a few Italian grandmothers try to marry me off to their granddaughters,” Anthony laughed.

Anthony said while his first six-months hadn’t been easy, it had been rewarding. 

“In rural nursing you really get thrown in the deep end a lot quicker; you have to time manage and prioritise, and you’re on your feet a lot, but I know in the end it will make me a better nurse,” he said.

“I’ve had so many nurses here who have gone out of their way to support me and help develop my skills, and I’ve been exposed to the whole range of nursing from birthing to palliative care.” 

As for the future, Anthony said he was keeping his options open.

“I’d love to be able to stay in Ingham as a registered nurse; it’s a great hospital with an amazing community and fantastic staff,” he said.

“I’ve also thought about re-enlisting back into the RAAF as a nursing officer.

“Nursing is a very diverse career and can really take me anywhere in the world.”

Ingham Health Service director of nursing Janine Johnson said it was a delight to be able to teach the nurses of tomorrow.

“Rural nursing is an incredibly special and rewarding field and our seasoned nurses are always happy to provide a mentoring role to these up-and-coming nurses,” she said.

“It’s wonderful to see how well Anthony has fit into the team and we are excited to see him grow in this role as well as become a much-loved member of the Ingham community.”

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