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Gemma was a registered nurse when she made the decision to apply for a HETI Higher Education scholarship. Her successful application enabled her to study a Masters of Applied Mental Health Studies with a specialisation in Child and Youth Mental Health, and move into a supervisory role she now loves.
By Gemma Morris, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Child and Youth Mental Health and Masters of Applied Mental Health Studies graduate.
I’d always been interested in doing some type of postgraduate education, but when I added up the fees each semester over a number of years, it was too much for me with other living costs to consider. It wasn’t until I heard about the HETI Child and Youth Mental Health Services Scholarship that I realised furthering my education was within my reach.
The scholarship made it possible for me to enrol in a Masters of Child and Youth Mental Health at HETI Higher Education and take the next step in my career. At the time, I had been a registered nurse for eight years and reached my limit in terms of the likely roles I could be in. To move into management or become a clinical nurse consultant, I needed to do further education.
I applied for a scholarship for each module in the Masters degree, and if I wasn’t successful with HETI Higher Education, I was able to secure funding through the Child and Youth Mental Health Service where I worked. My entire degree was paid for through a combination of both scholarships. I just had to complete a bit of paperwork and write a brief essay and that was it; it was quite an easy process.
HETI Higher Education was my first choice as it’s the only provider that offers a Masters specialisation in child and youth mental health. I’m really passionate about working with children and young people so I wanted to specialise in that area.
I also found it beneficial to study with other people who work in the child and youth area. I often have young people referred to me by services like headspace, so it was interesting to learn more about how they operate and their approach to mental health care. I developed some great relationships and networks over the course of my degree, which made referring clients to other services so much easier.
I studied alongside psychologists, social workers, general practitioners and nurses, a range of mental health roles. The discussions in the weekly forums were fantastic, because everyone had a different background and could approach the topic from a different perspective.
Studying was easy around my full-time job, because most of it was online. I think I only had two face-to-face days in the whole course. For me, that flexibility was important. At first, I was worried that I would be left to my own devices, but the educators at HETI Higher Education were very involved and offered a lot of support along the way. Whenever I had a question, they were there to help.
The fact that the course was flexible made things so much easier. Instead of trying to complete it in three years and feeling overwhelmed, I stretched it out to five or six years. It took longer, but I had a better work-life balance.
I knew I wanted to move into management, so I chose the leadership and management module, and the module on clinical supervision. Without that initial training, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m now a clinical nurse consultant, team leader and clinical supervisor. I love being a supervisor, the course gave me a deeper understanding of the theory that now underpins my practice.
I can’t emphasise enough how fantastic the whole experience was. HETI Higher Education not only provided the financial support I needed to study something I’m passionate about, but also enabled me to take on a more challenging role at work. It almost felt like a fresh start in my career. So, if you get the chance to apply for a scholarship and study with HETI Higher Education, go for it.
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