When mother of three Lorella McLatchey accompanied her eldest daughter Laine to a USC Open Day in 2015, starting her own study journey was the last thing on her mind.
“Laine and I were taking a walk through one of the teaching labs and got speaking to an Associate Professor about the benefits of the nursing degree,” Lorella, 48, said.
“The course work really interested me, and the professor ended up encouraging me to consider applying too. It took me some time to make up my mind but decided that I would enjoy the challenge after years in the family business managing holiday parks.”
After three years of full-time study, the mother-daughter duo officially graduated together this week with a Bachelor of Nursing degree each.
Laine, 21, said studying with her Mum had its moments, but overall it was a special experience.
“We travelled to the Sippy Downs campus from our home in Burpengary three times a week, so we always had each other to talk about different subjects and debrief on lectures,” Laine said.
“Sometimes it wasn’t always to our advantage through as there were often similarities in our work. We would do our assignments at different times and never together, but the end results would always be alike.”
Both mother and daughter passed with flying colours, and they credit the support of each other in their success.
Laine has put her degree to work already, taking on an occupational health role at Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld.
“I started in January and am loving the job so much,” Laine said.
“I administer first aid and do assessments on people at the park who might be sick or hurt, as well as drug and alcohol testing and mental health evaluations for staff – no two days are the same.”
Lorella is currently applying for the mid-year intake of graduate nursing programs at hospitals in Brisbane.
“Ideally I would love to work in the perioperative ward, as there’s a lot of diversity in the job and you don’t get stuck in just the one speciality area,” Lorella said.
“It’s been a big life shift for me and the whole family, but I’m so glad I took the chance on trying something new.
“I would encourage anyone looking at studying later in life to look at the journey as a challenge and not put too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy the opportunity and take each day as it comes.”