Sharing a special graduation together
UNIVERSITY of Southern Queensland nursing lecturer Barbara Black from Chuwar has taken great pride in watching her students walk across the stage at graduation over the years.
But nothing made her prouder than seeing one particular student graduate last week with a Bachelor of Nursing.
That’s because Elizabeth wasn’t just any student; she’s was her daughter.
Barbara had a front-row seat to Elizabeth’s graduation experience as part of the ceremony’s academic procession.
Every parent wants to be involved in their child’s education – and that was certainly the case for Barbara, who taught Elizabeth at not one, but three different educational institutes.
The first time was at the Bremer Institute of TAFE, where Elizabeth completed a Diploma of Nursing in 2010.
Four years later, she started a Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Darwin University and later switched to the University of Southern Queensland to complete her degree.
“I knew what I was signing up for,” Elizabeth said when asked what it was like to have her mother as a lecturer.
“The dodgy jokes and sayings like ‘back when I was nursing baby Jesus’. She certainly likes to have a bit of fun.
“We tried not to make it obvious that we were related, but a couple of times, the banter between us in the classroom gave it away.”
After receiving her degree it was Elizabeth’s turn on the same graduation day to sit back with pride and watch her mother graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy.
The Ipswich mother-daughter duo worked hard at their studies for years, but Barbara insisted it was just a coincidence they were both graduating in the same week.
“We both just got on with the study at our own pace,” Barbara said.
“Graduations are equally special on an individual level, but to be doing it together is a bonus.
“Elizabeth faced many hurdles throughout her degree, but her sheer determination to complete the program was outstanding.”
Elizabeth’s path to becoming a registered nurse was paved by her mother, who has spent more than 40 years in the profession.
Barbara worked in various settings, including acute care, medical and surgical care and perioperative units, before turning her attention to teaching in 2006.
She added research to her mix in recent years, focusing on nursing history, nursing education and chronic conditions, and nursing student engagement and retention.
Elizabeth landed her first job in 2010 as an endorsed enrolled nurse in an aged care facility and has spent the past 12 years working as a nurse in Indigenous health.
Elizabeth credits her mother for setting an example of what it takes to be a successful student and successful in life.
“I still remember when I was a child watching mum do her degree and always admired how determined she was to succeed.
“I even went along to some of her lectures,” she said.
“She’s my biggest inspiration and a significant influence on me, along with one of my aunties who is also a registered nurse.”