Debbie Hong is a third-year nursing student looking forward to graduating in 2020She says this year is particularly meaningful as it is the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.  

Third-year nursing student Debbie Hong is counting the days until graduation. She says her life up until this point has shaped her career choice, citing her parents, her family and her upbringing as the perfect entry to a career that centres on helping people live their life to the fullest. And with 2020 recognised by the World Health Organisation as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, the year has even more meaning for our graduating class.  

“I am passionate about helping others to have and to live better lives, and that shaped my desire to study nursing. This led me to volunteer as a high school student and helped shape my decision to enrol in the Bachelor of Nursing,” she says.  

“Growing up, I was inspired by my parents who travelled to rural districts each year to volunteer; seeing them give back and helping others made me what to do the same. But what really sparked me to want to help people medically, was when my grandmother started to suffer with dementia, and experiencing how one person’s illness not only impacted the individual themselves, but the family as a whole.  

“Watching my family go through this inspired me to want to be a part of the process of helping people to get well, to better maintain their illness, and help them live their life to the fullest.” 

Debbie says she’s looking forward to meeting different people and listening to their stories, to help them through some of their most vulnerable times. 

“I think it’s amazing to be able to help people as a nurse, and I feel grateful that nurses have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind and body of the patients, and be able to advocate for them,” she says. 

When she looks to the future, Debbie says her learnings at Griffith have helped her understand the role a nurse plays in a wider team of health professionals, as well as the many career options waiting for her. 

“When I think of my future career and all I’ve learned during my time at Griffith University, I understand that nursing isn’t just about caring for person – it’s about integrating science and clinical skills, having the desire to care for people, and being passionate about helping a person to reach their best state,” she says. 

“And what’s so amazing about nursing is that there are countless opportunities and pathways you can take. You can work in a hospital, you can be a school nurse, a flight nurse, a military nurse, you can work overseas… and there’s many more you could choose as well.”  

Debbie says the opportunities available as part of the Bachelor of Nursing helped her build the skills needed to be successful in the workforce. 

“In my second year, I was leading peer assisted study sessions for the first-year anatomy and physiology course. I also volunteered as a peer teacher for one of the first-year simulation labs.  All of these experiences help us to become better health professionals, because nursing is all about educating the patient.” 

The World Health Organisation has deemed 2020 the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, in honour of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth year. Debbie says she feels privileged to graduate as a registered nurse in such a meaningful year.  

“Florence Nightingale said ‘Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses. We must be learning all of our lives’. It’s this dedication that I hope to keep throughout my nursing career.” 

If like Debbie, you’re ready to follow your passion for helping, find out more about studying Nursing at Griffith