Award winning nursing student upskills


A series of traumatic family events prompted Belinda Howes to enhance her skills within the health industry.

After working in Disability Services for a number of years Belinda wanted to up-skill and decided to enrol in the Diploma of Nursing with GOTAFE.

Belinda successfully completed her Diploma in 2016 and was also the recipient of a GOTAFE Nursing Award in 2015. Belinda said that even though she achieved her goals and has been recognised as an outstanding student she still was still apprehensive about starting study again.

“I was really nervous,” she said. “I had my doubts that I wasn’t smart enough at the start of the course and I found the hospital environment intimidating but once I completed the Anatomy and Physiology components of the course I felt more confident and found GOTAFE extremely supporting. The teachers were especially welcoming, supportive and helped keep me on track.”

Belinda went on to say that she loved the course and that undertaking her practical placement was a highlight of her studies. “The diploma was fantastic, I learnt a lot and made lifelong friendships. Placement was definitely the best part of the course, it brought it all together and being able to work with patients really helped solidify the knowledge we had learnt in class.”

Belinda completed numerous placements that included acute and aged care in Mansfield, the medical ward and direct nursing at Wangaratta North East Health as well as hours at Albury Base Hospital.

Belinda would like to undertake more study, specifically courses that focus on diabetes education, emergency care and management. She would also like to complete her registered nurse qualifications then pathway into University.

Belinda also shared her advice to anyone else contemplating a career in the health industry. “Do it, start your studies with GOTAFE, it will be well worth it.”

“If you work hard you will be rewarded and there is always a support network, your trainers and classmates are there to help you.”

Debra up-skilled to the Diploma


Debra started the Diploma of Nursing with GOTAFE in July 2014 after deciding she wanted to up-skill from Certificate IV in Aged Care.

GOTAFE Trainer Catherine Conrick was very complimentary about Debra who continued to work in the Aged Care environment whilst completing her studies part-time.

“Debra’s career goal was to complete her B Nursing and she has already completed pre-enrolment at La Trobe University,” said Catherine.

“Debra’s assignment work was a consistently high standard throughout the course and her attendance record was been exemplary. No matter what else has been going on in her life, her commitment to her studies and her goals has always been a priority.”

“She actively role models professionalism.”She carried that professionalism into her placement work where the feedback we received from her clinical placement co-ordinators reflected her interactions with peers and teachers in the classroom.”

“They all commented that Debra has excellent communication and interpersonal skills with both staff and clients/patients. They also went on to say that she demonstrated excellent practical skills both in placement and in the simulated environment, she also possess an excellent understanding of professional and ethical nursing in her skills and competencies.”

“I wish Debra the best of luck in her future career, it has been a joy to watch her grow and excel.”

Above: Debra pictured during December 2016 at the ANMF Awards Night held in Melbourne.