From patient to practitioner, Sarah is a carer

Published 11:00am 15 March 2023

From patient to practitioner, Sarah is a carer
Words by Jodie Powell

After a traumatic car accident left Sarah Vohland needing help to recover, the former childhood educator discovered the world of working in care and decided to make it her career.

“I spent almost six months needing help and when I came out of it, I had a burning desire to help others,” Sarah says.

“I wanted to be there for people who can’t do everyday things for themselves because I know how awful it can be and how important assisting those in need is.”

With her newfound calling, the mother of two began studying art therapy at university but found the course and learning structure uninspiring.

“I prefer learning when doing stuff, and I found I wasn’t retaining the information from the university lectures, which I also found boring and time-consuming,” Sarah explains.

Hands-on training

When a palliative care nurse visited her lecture to talk about using art therapy to care for people in the final stages of life, Sarah was so inspired she changed her training to become a palliative nurse.

“After recovering from my accident, I knew I wanted to help those in need, but I wasn’t sure which community service area I wanted to work within. But after the palliative nurse shared their experiences with my class, I knew what I wanted my career to be,” Sarah says.

Deciding to study the Certificate III in Individual Support - Ageing, Home and Community (CHC33015) through TAFE Queensland (RTO 0275) wasn’t hard for Sarah, with staff making her enrolment easy.

Sarah says her skills and confidence grew through TAFE Queensland’s hands-on practical training in its industry-standard facilities, which have been instrumental in helping her to become a palliative nurse by significantly reducing the cost of training.

“I knew what I wanted to study, and training at TAFE Queensland makes me feel so alive.

“We have theory each morning and practical in the labs in the afternoons, where the teachers challenge us with different real-world scenarios,” Sarah explains.

Industry insights

“Our teachers show us how something is done, then my classmates and I take turns doing it - supporting each other along the way with our teacher nearby to give us guidance as we attempt it.

“The way we’re taught here suits me, and TAFE doesn’t take as long as a university qualification so I can start working sooner.”

The course provided Sarah with industry speakers and former students in their first year of work, who each gave insights into what to expect when entering the industry.

“I’m on the right path and getting the right help to get to where I want to be, with great people in some fantastic facilities.

“I didn’t expect to learn in a small hospital with simulated patients – it’s amazing,” Sarah says.

Sarah now has a realistic outlook on her career in palliative care and is under no illusions about what it will entail when she starts as a nurse in the field.

“I have no fantasies about what’s ahead of me, but it’s an intense but rewarding part of life that people need help with,” Sarah says.

“I feel I’m learning the skills to support people with compassion, empathy and dignity in their final stages and help their families get through the grieving process.

“It costs nothing to show someone you care.”

The health and community services career of your dreams is within reach in 2023, thanks to Fee-Free TAFE.

Fee-Free TAFE is now available at TAFE Queensland, with over 90 courses available FREE or low-cost across various study areas. For more information, including a full list of courses and eligibility criteria, call 1300 308 233 or click here.

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