Nursing student on a mission

For many people spending long periods in hospital during childhood would guarantee a life-long aversion to hospital, but that is not the case with Jacques, a second-year Nursing student at Notre Dame.

“One of the main reasons I’m studying Nursing is to give something back to the health profession,” says Jacques, who battled leukaemia during his teenage years.  “As a former patient I bring a special level of empathy to my work as a nurse.”

Not only does the Bachelor of Nursing program at Notre Dame enjoy a great reputation within the health care system, the university’s flexible admissions system means that although Jacques was unable to sit his HSC he could still apply.

“I chose Notre Dame because it delivers a lot of things I was looking for,” he says. “The university is really welcoming and appreciates you for who you are – they look beyond your academic performance. I like that.”

Being hospitalized in both Years 7 and 12 seriously disrupted his school studies, but gave Jacques a unique view of the world which he now shares with high school students, including at his old school – St Mary’s Cathedral College in Sydney.

“When I speak to kids about my own experience I hope it helps them to understand that the teenage experience isn’t one-dimensional,” he says.

As the end of his Nursing degree looms, Jacques is still undecided about whether he will specialise in oncology or paediatrics but says that Notre Dame’s reputation has ensured that he will find employment well in advance of graduation.

“I’ve already had two job offers,” he says. “I made a decision early on in my studies to get as much practical experience in the health care system as I could – and it’s really helped me get a leg up. Don’t wait until you graduate to start looking for work.”