When Warnbro resident Monique Stock commenced her studies as a nurse, she had no idea she would be training in a third world country.
The 30-year-old mum of one has recently returned from Tanzania in East Africa where she was one of twenty Western Australian nursing students chosen to undertake a clinical placement in the developing country.
The group travelled with expert clinicians and undertook supervised placements at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University and Amana Hospital in the former capital city Dar Es Salaam and also had the opportunity to visit two rural community health centres.
Monique commenced her nursing studies at Challenger Institute of Technology in 2007 completing a Nursing Career Combo at the Peel campus. This unique course offered by Challenger in conjunction with Murdoch University provides students with a pathway to obtaining a nursing degree.
Last November, in her final year of study at Murdoch University, Monique was selected to take part in the overseas placement in Tanzania.
“I was very excited when the opportunity came in my final year of studies,” Monique said.
“Travelling to and caring for people in developing countries was something I have always wanted to do.
“The experience was hard; it was very emotional and at times heartbreaking, though I feel it has made me a better and more understanding person.
“I am grateful for this eye-opening experience as it has brought me closer to working within our own Indigenous community and further volunteer work as a nurse in the future.”
The student nurses spent the weeks before they left for Tanzania collecting donations to help purchase hospital equipment, as well as medical and children’s books.
Since returning, Monique and fellow Murdoch University students have been raising money to go towards the construction of a clean water reservoir in the desperately poor community of Masangaya.
“The existing water supply in the region is the only resource for all surrounding villages and constantly breaks down – this has become a serious health issue,” she said.
“We hope that through our donation the construction of a new reservoir will be possible, which will provide some much needed relief to the community.”
Monique spent the weeks before she left for Tanzania collecting donations to help purchase medical equipment, as well as medical books and equipment for the universities’ nursing students.
Furthermore, Monique and fellow Murdoch University students have, since returning, raised enough money for a clean water reservoir in the desperately poor community of Masangaya.
“We are hoping to have our fundraising money of approx $4,600 doubled as promised by the high commissioner of Kenya.
Monique gained a Certificate III and IV Aged Care qualification in her first year at Challenger, enabling her to work in the aged care industry while completing her degree.
“I felt a sense of pride when I went back to study and started learning again,” Monique said.
“Educationally, my training broadened my mind and way of thinking, especially in the areas of maths and computing.
“I always felt supported by my lecturers and I never felt silly asking questions.”
Monique has since graduated from Murdoch University with a registered nursing qualification and this month commenced her graduate nursing placement at Rockingham General Hospital.
The Tanzania placement was made possible through State Government funding to the Global Health Alliance, an initiative of the Department of Health through the Nursing and Midwifery Office.
The placement is the first in a series of projects to support nursing and midwifery initiatives in developing countries and is committed to the World Health Organisation’s Millennium Development Goals.
The Nursing Career Combo is a one-year full-time program of study in which students complete Certificate IV in Aged Care Work while studying additional university units. The course is specifically designed for mature-age students living in the Peel region. Successful completion of the certificate will guarantee students entry into Murdoch University\’s School of Nursing to become a registered nurse.