Rachel Biggelaar

Rachel Biggelaar

Final-year student, Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing)

Nursing is a career like no other, says Rachel Biggelaar who is in the final year of her Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing) and will graduate at the end of the year.

“As a nurse, you will never have two days that are the same. Having the ability to comfort and care for patients and their families is highly rewarding, however it can also be very challenging. Every day when I walk into the hospital for my clinical placements, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives.”

Now in her last semester, Rachel already has a clear idea what area of nursing she wants to specialise in when she graduates.

“I hope to pursue a career as a theatre nurse. Throughout the course of my clinical placements, I was fortunate enough to spend time in various operating theatres and I was instantly captivated by the environment. As a theatre nurse, you can support patients when they are at their most vulnerable and provide care that is both patient-centred and technologically sophisticated. Being a nurse in this setting is both empowering and enlightening, and once you find your niche in the medical world, the prospects are endless.”

Supported to succeed
She would highly recommend the Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing) to other students, Rachel says.

“Nursing is a multifaceted and highly dynamic career that provides you with an opportunity to specialise in several sectors of health. What I have enjoyed most about my studies are the labs and clinical placements. During our time spent on campus, we learned about a vast range of acute and chronic medical scenarios and were able to simulate these case studies in our labs. Amalgamating these practical skills and applying them to real-life situations on placement was one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of my studies.”

In addition to her own studies, Rachel has also enjoyed sharing what she has learnt with a first-year nursing student.

“This year, I’ve joined the AUT Scholars Society mentoring programme and have been working as a mentor for a first-year nursing student. I found this role highly rewarding and have thoroughly enjoyed the chance to provide guidance and support to another student. Embarking on your first year at university can be extremely daunting and at times overwhelming. Fortunately, AUT offers a wide range of student support services, and I’m grateful that I was able to be a part of this team.”

Advice for other students
Your time spent at university is instrumental in establishing the foundations for your future career, Rachel advises other students.

“As well as taking an academic approach, I encourage students to ‘say yes’ to new experiences that will enable you to grow and develop as a person. Come to university with an open mind and embrace every aspect you can – be inquisitive, be proactive, be appreciative and most importantly, be yourself.”

It’s important to make time for yourself, she adds.

“You’re investing a lot of time into your studies, and it’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of endless assignments and exams. Ensure you take time for yourself to keep grounded and spend time with the people who make you happy.”

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